10 Most Infamous Serial Killers in Texas
Throughout history, Texas has been plagued with nefarious individuals who have slayed hundreds across the state. Here, we take a look at the worst of these wicked killers and where they are today.
1. Servant Girl Annihilator
Number of Victims: 8 confirmed Years Active: 1884 to 1885
The Servant Girl Annihilator, otherwise known as the Austin Axe Murderer, is one of America’s first documented serial killers. This individual terrorized the city of Austin in the late 19th century, killing eight, five of which were domestic servants.
His victims were brutally slain in their sleep, sexually assaulted, and then posed with sharp objects protruding from their ears. While his identity remains unknown to this day, many true crime enthusiasts theorize that he is actually Jack the Ripper.
2. The Eyeball Killer
Number of Victims: 3 confirmed Years Active: 1990 to 1991
From a young age, Charles Albright showed homicidal tendencies, killing and stuffing small animals for sport. His mother chalked it up to a passion for taxidermy, but this spiraled into a life of petty crime and murder.
All three of his victims were sex workers in the Dallas County region. They were found shot with their eyes removed. Albright served life in prison and died in 2020.
3. The Candy Man
Number of Victims: 28 confirmed Years Active: 1970 to 1973
Dean Corll was a sadistic pedophile who abducted, raped, and murdered at least 28 young men in the Houston region. He got away with these crimes with the help of two teenage accomplices, David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley.
During his reign of terror, he was responsible for what residents called the “Houston mass murders”. Incidentally, he died at the hands of his own aide— Henley shot and killed him before leading police to the graves of his victims. Corll earned his moniker due to the family business, the Corll Candy Company.
4. Phantom Killer
Number of Victims: 5 confirmed Years Active: 1946
As the name implies, the Phantom Killer’s identity still remains a mystery. However, this infamous masked man killed at least five and injured three others in 1946.
Dubbed the Texarkana Moonlight Murders, this killing spree involved shooting attacks on couples late at night in their vehicles.
5. The Broomstick Killer
Number of Victims: 9 confirmed Years Active: 1966 and 1991 to 1992
Kenneth McDuff was sentenced to death row not once, but twice. This Texas serial killer is known for the rape and brutal murder of Edna Sullivan. He broke her neck using a broomstick. He was sentenced to death in 1968. However, the death penalty was overturned in 1972, causing his sentence to be commuted to life.
Then, overcrowding in the prison allowed for his release. This led to the deaths of at least six more young women and a capital murder conviction that got him his second death sentence. He died in 1998 by lethal injection.
6. The Sunday Morning Slasher
Number of Victims: 14 confirmed; 100 suspected Years Active: 1974 to 1982
Carl Eugene Watts eluded law enforcement for eight years before being caught and convicted for the murders of over a dozen Texas women and two Michigan women by means of stabbing, drowning, strangling, and bludgeoning.
This Texan claims to have killed many more. His serial murders had only one thing in common— all of his victims were white women who he believed had “evil eyes”. He served a life sentence and died of cancer in 2007.
7. Butcher of Elmendorf
Number of Victims: 2 confirmed; 20 suspected Years Active: 1930s
Joseph Ball was known as the “Alligator Man”. As the story goes, this South Texas serial killer was a tavern owner who romanced his victims before killing them and feeding them to his pet alligators, which he kept in the pond behind the bar.
While law enforcement only recovered two bodies, Texas folklore alludes to many more deaths. Ball died at his own hand, shooting himself to avoid arrest.
8. The Railroad Killer
Number of Victims: 15 confirmed; 23 suspected Years Active: 1980s and 1990s
Angel Maturino Reséndiz, dubbed “The Railroad Killer”, illegally traveled across the county by rail. He picked his victims at random, varying in age and sexual orientation. Right before his capture in 1999, this Mexican-born serial killer landed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Once captured, he was sentenced to death and died by lethal injection in 2006.
9. Angel of Death
Number of Victims: 3 confirmed; 60 suspected Years Active: 1977 to 1982
Genene Jones was a nurse in the pediatric ICU of the Bexar County Hospital. During her tenure, an unprecedented number of children started to die. Instead of investigating, the hospital merely asked its licensed vocational nurses to resign, allowing Jones to move to a different medical facility and continue her killings.
It’s been speculated that she injected 60 children with digoxin, heparin, and succinylcholine to create a medical crisis and then be seen as their savior. She is now serving a life sentence.
10. William Lewis Reece
Number of Victims: 4 confirmed Years Active: 1997
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Texas Killing Fields was a place where people went missing and bodies were found. Many of these murder cases remain unsolved to this day. As the area developed, the deaths diminished. However, in 1997, three more bodies appeared. It was not until 2015 that their killer was found.
While serving a kidnapping sentence, Reece’s DNA linked him to the cold-case murder of an Oklahoma teenager. He later confessed to murdering three more women that same summer in Texas. He was sentenced to death in Oklahoma in 2021 and sentenced to life in prison in Texas in 2022.
Serial Killings Continue Across Texas
While these serial killers are either imprisoned or deceased, there are more cold-blooded killers here in the state. Most recently, Billy Chemirmir has been trending in the Texas news cycles. This Kenyan immigrant is charged with killing 22 North Texas women.
Think you can identify more of the most prolific serial killers in history? Take our Name That Serial Killer Quiz to find out!
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