Hollywood has romanticized genius serial killers for a long time now. A sly and informed, yet absolutely evil murderer who knows how to fool police. There have been documentaries focusing solely on the most intelligent serial killers. But in real life, most serial killers are far from genius. And an awful lot of them are just dumb. Some serial killers are incredibly intelligent though, and they do tend to fool police for quite a while. Even after being caught they tend to fool authorities, sometimes faking mental illness to avoid standing trial. So I thought I’d list the most intelligent serial killers that we know of. For this list I will be taking into account only IQ scores. There is debate over how reliable IQ tests are for judging intelligence, but I think it will do well for this list. Here are the ten most intelligent serial killers.
John Christie was an English serial killer who murdered 8 women in the 1940s and 1950s. He got away with it by hiding the bodies underneath his own home. At one point, police were searching his home while investigating the women’s disappearances, and they noticed the smell of rotting flesh. Buy Christie was, after all, intelligent. He managed to frame someone else for their murders. And so he escaped justice for a while longer. But the other man was found guilty and executed. So when the murders continued they knew they had punished the wrong man. The bodies were then discovered in John Christie’s house. He was found guilty and hanged to death.
IQ Score – 128
Juan Corona is more well known as “the Machete Murderer”. He killed 25 immigrant workers in America, and buried their bodied in fruit fields. In his early life he suffered a mental breakdown which was been linked to his will to commit murder. But to those around him, he seemed like a normal man. The police became suspicious of him as he worked at all the locations bodies had been discovered. He really was the only link. Don’t let that mistake fool you though, he’s incredibly intelligent and manipulative. He was found guilty of all 25 counts of murder, and received a life sentence for each victim.
IQ Score – 130
Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century. He would kidnap women murder them, and then have sex with their dead bodies. It’s know that he decapitated at least 12 of the 30 plus people who killed. After finally being arrested, he escaped from prison twice. During his break out from prison, he killed another three people. So it’s fair to call him a maniac. Many psychology professionals described him as absolutely cruel and evil. In fact, even one of his lawyers said that he was “the very definition of heartless evil”. But during his trial, he represented himself in court. He really was so intelligent and charismatic that he was as efficient as most professional lawyers. But he was found guilty and given the death penalty.
IQ Score – 136
Lawrence Bittaker teamed up with his friend Roy to rape and murder several young girls in 1979. He was found guilty of raping and murdering 5 teenage girls, and sentenced to death back in 1981. But he hasn’t been executed yet, he’s just been kept on death row the whole time. John Douglas, who was an FBI agent assigned to the case, said that Lawrence Bittaker was the most disturbing person he ever profiled. Yet he was found to be among the most intelligent serial killers. He was only caught when his friend Roy was arrested for minor drug charges. But the police got Roy to tell them everything, and even testify against him.
IQ Score – 138
Jeffrey Dahmer isn’t exactly remembered as being among the most intelligent serial killers. He’s remembered for killing 17 men. He had sex with some of their dead bodies, and consumed parts of others. So he’s remembered as a crazy cannibal. He would also attempt to preserve the flesh of his victims as trophies. After being captured, he was diagnosed with 2 personality disorders and a mental disorder. But the judge still thought he was fit to stand trial, and he was convicted on 15 counts of murder. While in prison, he was beaten to death by another inmate. People are shocked to hear of his genius-level IQ, as his crimes don’t fit the mind.
IQ Score – 144
Andrew Cunanan murdered 5 people in 1997. He made worldwide headlines when he was ranked on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, and after he shot and killed the fashion designer Gianni Versace. He was never captured by the FBI, killing himself after three months of spree killing. As a teenager, he was intellectually gifted, but he was a known liar and no one trusted him. Psychologists now think he was a diagnosable psychopath. They also think he was a genius, being fluent in 7 languages. The motive for his killing spree are unknown. There are numerous theories but he obviously can’t confirm any of them.
IQ Score – 147
Carroll Cole was the American serial killer who claimed 16 victims. For his crimes, he was executed in 1985 by lethal injection. It’s only 16 victims that we know for sure who killed, some claim he killed as many as 30. He was identified as being a genius when he was just a young teenager, but he was always a terrible student. He was arrested for a series of petty crimes, and he was kicked out of the military for stealing weapons. So there were some pretty blatant red flags. Other red flags were his several times spent in mental hospitals. It’s amazing he got away with it for so long.
IQ Score – 152
With her lover, Charlene Gallego murdered 10 people. They kidnapped their victims and kept them as sex slaves until they got bored and simply killed them. After being caught, she blamed her lover. She agreed to testify against him in return for a 17 year prison sentence. This just shows how good she was at manipulating others. She was released from prison in 1997 and is now 59 years old.
IQ Score – 160
Rodney Alcala is a really disturbing case. He’s known as “the Dating Game Serial Killer” – because he once appeared on a dating game tv show in which he won a date with the woman on the show. She never went on the date with him though as he was far too creepy. We really can’t be sure how many he killed. Estimates tend to range between 10 and 130 victims. But he was convicted of kidnapping, rape, murder, and several other charges. He would strangle his victims into unconsciousness and then wait until they woke up. And then he would do that several more times until he decided to finish them off. He was sentenced to death, but is still alive in prison today.
IQ Score – 160
Ted Kaczynski is known as “The Unabomber” because he would send bombs to university workers who were involved with modern technology. He hated modern technology, thinking it would eventually destroy humanity. So it’s like he thought he was in a Terminator movie. His bombing campaign lasted 17 long years before police learned his identity. This was due to his own siblings turning him over to authorities. He was a mathematical genius, writing secret messages to himself in encrypted codes so advanced the FBI couldn’t crack it. It’s surprising that he would be found on a list of the most intelligent serial killers simply because he was an educated man with all the opportunity in the world.
IQ Score – 167
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