10 Most Sadistic Serial Killers from the 20th Century

Many of the serial killings have been linked to mental illness, psychological reasons, and frustrations and in some cases revenge. There are many brutal serial killers from various countries with different attitudes and desires. Few serial killers have killed more than 100, while a few have murdered below 10 but violently. Since the lists of serial killers are large, we have compacted to only the 20th century sadistic killers. The main focus of serial killers in this list would be based on sadism and extreme tortures. Some of these serial killers are terrifying, scary, evil and love killing.

List of 10 most sadistic serial killers of 20th century who have tortured their victims brutally before killing:

10. Dean Corll (28+ victims)

Serial Killer Dean Corll

Dean Corll was an American serial killer who along with his two young teenage accomplices abducted, raped, tortured and killed more than 28 boys from 1970 to 1973, what was called as “Houston Mass Murders”. During the 1970s, this was considered as the worst example of serial murders in the history of America. The two young accomplices of Corll named David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley lured or abducted many young boys to Corll’s home who were subsequently assaulted and killed by the three. The victims were usually drugged with alcohol and other drugs until they passed out. The victims were beaten when tied by rope on to a plywood-board or a bed. After torturing the victims for several days, the victims are killed by strangulation or shooting with a .22 caliber pistol. Then the sadist killer would bury them in any of the four different places – a beach on Bolivar peninsula, a beach in Jefferson County, a rented boat shed or woodland near Lake Sam Rayburn. Before the police or the law could convict him, his accomplice Henley shot Corll fatally when Corll wanted to torture, assault and kill two of Henley’s friends.

9. Robert Berdella (6+ victims)

Serial Killer Robert Berdella

Robert Berdella was an American serial killer who is known to have physically assaulted, tortured and murdered at least six men between 1984 and 1987. Around the age of 16, he claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a male co-worker at the restaurant where he worked. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute in 1967, during this time he engaged in animal torture at-least three times – he tortured a duck, a chicken and sedated and tranquilized a dog. He started his criminal career by drug dealing and abusing alcohol. He was arrested at the age of 19 for possessing marijuana and LSD. He is known to have had relationships with male prostitutes and was open about being gay.

Berdella started killing prostitutes from 1984, by befriending them, luring them to his basement where he repeatedly tortured and finally asphyxiating them fatally. He also engaged in killing people in different styles and involved different torture techniques such as suffocating them, injecting infected drugs, electric shocks via spatula placed across the eyelid, intoxication and enduring piano wire tied around the wrist to cause nervous damage. He is also known to have drained the blood of few of his victims after they are dead, cut them and retained few body parts with him before burying the body in the backyard. The sadist monster died of a heart attack in 1992 at Jefferson City Correctional Center.

8. John Brennan Crutchley (30 victims)

Serial Killer John Crutchley

John Brennan Crutchley was a convicted rapist and serial killer who was called the “Vampire Rapist”. The sadistic killer is known to drain the blood of his victims to drink while he repeatedly sexually assaulted them. He was connected to murders and disappearances of at-least 30 women but was never tried nor convicted of those crimes.

In 1997, a 25-year-old Debbora Fitzjohn, secretary of Fairfax, Virginia disappeared mysteriously. Crutchley was a prime suspect as he lived near a trailer park where the woman was last seen with her boyfriend. Crutchley was questioned several times but nothing was cracked even after her skeletal remains were found by a hunter in October the next year. Many other disappearances have occurred in the area. A string of disappearances also occurred in Pennsylvania when he resided there. In some cases bodies of women were found in remote areas. In 1985, in Malabar, Florida, a teenager handcuffed to both ankles and feet was found crawling on the side of the road. She had been passed by several trucks until someone stopped to help her. She begged the driver to take a note of a house and not to take her there. After she was hospitalized it was found that 40 percent of her blood was missing. The day before she had been hitchhiking and a man had given her a ride to take her to the place she wanted to go, but said he had to stop off at a house first. He invited her in and she refused it, and he got into the back seat and choked her unconscious. She woke up to find that she was tied to a kitchen top. A video cam was placed with lights. The man assaulted and recorded the action. Then he inserted needles into her wrist and carefully extracted blood and began to drink. He told her that he was a vampire when he drank the blood. He came back again for further rounds of physical assaults. The next morning, the man left her. Before the man returned home, she managed to escape and left crawling on the road until she got help. A search warrant was issued on Crutchley but the videotape was partially erased which otherwise would have been a full evidence. He was arrested the same day. The man was declared a serial killer.

7. Pedro Rodrigues Filho (100+ victims)

Serial Killer Pedro Rodrigues Filho

Pedro Rodrigues Filho is believed to be Brazil’s most notorious serial killer. The Brazilian serial killer is nicknamed as “Pedrinho Matador” (Killer Petey). He was convicted in 2003 for 73 murders after his arrest in 1973.

He murdered his first victim vice-Mayor of Alfenas, Minas Gerais at the age of 14. During his refugee in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, he was involved in several robberies and also murdered a drug dealer. In the camp he met Maria Aparecida Olympia with whom he lived. The woman was later murdered by some gang members. Pedro Rodrigues Filho wanted to take revenge, so he went on a killing spree where he started torturing and killing people to know about the gangsters who killed his girlfriend. At the age of 18 he had already killed 10 people and injured several. When his father butchered his mother with a machete, Pedro Rodrigues Filho executed his own father and cut a piece of his heart, chewed it and threw it away. During his conviction he became notorious and promised to kill another serial killer Francisco de Assis Pereira.

6. Daniel Conahan (15+ victims)

Serial Killer Daniel Conahan

Daniel Conahan is a suspected American serial killer and murderer who is linked to “The Hog Trail Killings”. Though, he is convicted for only one murder and is a suspect for more than 15 murders. His murders are linked to mostly homosexual men. On February 1, 1994 a mutilated corpse of a man was found in Punta Gorda. The body was in a bad state, with multiple rope burns and the man’s genitalia had been removed and discarded. This man was never identified. On January 1, 1996, a family dog brought a man’s skull and police searched for the body. The skeletal remains of a man was found in a similar condition as the 1994 victim. After this many skulls and bodies were found, known to be the largest discovery of skulls in the history of Florida. These killings were linked to Daniel Conahan and the media dubbed the killings as “The Hog Trail Killings”. Daniel is believed to be a homosexual from his childhood. He has served the United States Navy and was nearly court-marshaled for his homosexual solicitation. Several more bodies have been discovered even in the 21st century – one in 2000, two in 2001 and one in 2002. Conahan is considered one of the most brutal monster serial killer in the world.

5. Andrei Chikatilo (56 victims)

Serial Killer Andrei Chikatilo

Andrei Chikatilo is a Soviet serial killer who assaulted, murdered and mutilated at least 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990. He is nicknamed as “Butchering Rostov”, “The Red Ripper” and the “Rostov Ripper” who committed these heinous crimes in the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Uzbek SSR. Chikatilo’s childhood had been in hardship, poverty, ridicule, hunger and war.

During his adolescence, he discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence that worsened his self-hatred and social esteem. He served the army where his peers discovered his impotence, which again downed him and he was highly humiliated. After his marriage in 1963, his marital life was minimal. In 1970, he went into the teaching space as a teacher of Russian language.

In 1973, his first known assault on his own pupil came into light. He was known to frequent the girls’ dormitory. Few months later, he assaulted another teenage girl. Due to increasing complaints against him, the school board asked him to resign voluntarily. He left this job and joined another teaching position in Shakhty. His teaching career ended in 1981. In 1978 he is known to have murdered his first victim – a 9-year-old girl. He threw the body in the nearby river. On 1981, he murdered another teenage girl whom he strangled, mutilated the body with a stick and teeth. Many of his victims were prey to brutal methods of executions like ripping open their body parts, mutilation of the eye sockets, bite off their tongue, tearing off their private organs and removing body parts. The psychopath killer was arrested on 13 September 1984. The killer died on 14 September 1994 by execution by a gun shot.

4. Albert Fish (9 victims)

Serial Killer Albert Fish

Albert Fish was a sadistic cannibal serial killer from America who tortured young children, raped and consumed them. The most prolific cannibal killer had many names – “Gray Man”, the “Werewolf of Wysteria”, the “Brooklyn Vampire”, the “Moon Maniac”, and “The Boogey Man”. He lured and preyed on weaker victims like handicapped children and American-African children. The scary killer was known to mutilate his victims, drink their blood, cook the meat and consume their body parts. He was suspected of killing 9 children but at one point of time he stated the number to be 100. It is unclear on whether the number meant murders or sexual assaults. Eight year old Francis McDonnell’s disappearance on July 14, 1924  was connected to Albert Fish. After organizing a search for the boy, only his body was found hanging by a tree. The boy had been sexually assaulted and strangled. An autopsy of the boy concluded that the boy had suffered lacerations to his legs and abdomen. Fish never confessed to killing the boy, but later stated that he intended to castrate the boy but fled when he heard someone approaching the area. History’s one the most sadistic serial child killer and psychopath was electrocuted and killed on an electric chair on January 16, 1936.

3. Donald Henry Gaskins (80+ victims)

Serial Killer Donald Henry Gaskins

Donald Henry Gaskins was a sadistic serial killer who is known to have confessed to killing 80 to 90 people purely for enjoyment. The American serial killer was first arrested for the gang-rape of a dropout’s sister and a string of burglaries. Gaskins was sent to a reform school where he was regularly raped by fellow inmates. He was released from the reform at the age of 18. Gaskins is known to have suffered tremendous mental trauma that could have affected his criminal behaviors later on. Gaskin was arrested several times, have escaped prison and have physically assaulted kids. He is known to have gone on a killing spree during the 1960s and 70s. He killed on an average one person every 6 weeks. He went on to hunt for people to quench his feeling of “bothersome-ness”. He has confessed to killing people purely for enjoyment using different methods such as stabbing, suffocating, and mutilation and even claimed to have cannibalized few.

2. Luis Garavito (300+ victims)

Serial Killer Luis Garavito

Luis Garavito is a serial killer from Colombia, also known as “The Beast” or “Tribilín”. The local media calls him the “World’s worst serial killer” for the large number of murders. Luis Garavito is known to have murdered more than 300 people, admitted to murder, physical assault and torture of 147 young boys. Most of Garavito’s victims were poor children, street children or peasant children in the age group of 6 to 16. He initially gains trusts among them to commit the crime, takes them for a long walk until they are tired. Once they are tired, he physically assaults and kills them. He also cuts their throats and dismembers their bodies. Most of the bodies found, showed signs of severe amounts of torture. Since Colombian law system doesn’t allow life sentencing and death penalties, many Colombians have criticized the possibility of Garavito’s early release. The maximum sentencing at that time was only 40 years for such gruesome crimes. Even since the criticisms, the sentencing has been just increased to 60 years in Colombia.

1. David Parker Ray (60 victims)

Serial Killer David Parker Ray

David Parker Ray is the most brutal and sadistic serial killer in history, who is known as the “Toy Box Killer”. The interesting part was he was only a suspected serial killer and was never convicted for any single murder. Ray operated actively in the 1950s, allegedly committing crimes such as rapes, tortures and murders. The exact number of murders is uncertain but he is believed to have committed over 60 murders. The scary part about his tortures included a gynecological table with a mounted ceiling mirror so that the victim could see the tortures performed on them. Other things such as torture instruments, electricity generating device, chainsaw, handcuffs, ankle-cuffs, and a toy box to keep the victims in captivity, slavery machines and other dangerous devices that costed around $100,000 were installed. Ray is known to keep his victims in an extremely secure dungeon conditions, give them hypnotic drugs and sedatives so that they remember nothing after the assaults. Ray and his girlfriend Cindy Hendy lured young teenage women and prostitutes by pretending to be a police officer. The crimes came into light only after a victim managed to escape his Toy Box. Since, there were no proper and strong evidences against his crimes he was never convicted for the murders. He died of a heart attack before he could be tried for his crimes.


Vinod Suthersan is an young tech enthusiast, Blogger addict, Internet craze and thriving to learn new things on the world of Internet.