11 Most Prolific Texas Serial Killers, Ranked by Ostensible Body Count

We like to say things are bigger in Texas, but we really have no bragging rights when it comes to our killers. Which itself might actually be something to brag about, given the implications.

We don’t have the most prolific killer in the world, according to official numbers: Colombia has the top three serial killers (child murderers, all of them, with nearly 300 proven victims among them).

We don’t even have the most prolific ones in the United States, by actual court convictions: The Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, holds that title. He was born in Utah and murdered in Washington state, where he was convicted of 49 murders. Texas' deadliest mass killer was George Hennard, who gunned down 23 at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen in 1991.  Charles Joseph Whitman, the UT tower sniper, killed 18. But neither man comes close to the numbers of dead from 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 in 1995.

But abandon official convictions and go with the murders each killer is suspected of doing (or claims to have done), and suddenly, Texas psychos rank right on up there with the worst of them.

1. Carl “Coral” Eugene Watts
 100 victims (12 confirmed victims in Texas)

One could argue the Killeen native beat the system when he died of cancer a week after he was sentenced to his second life term in Michigan, just three years into his first one. Watts told authorities he killed 80 women in Texas and Michigan and possibly upward of 100. Call it dumb luck for the man known as the “Sunday Morning Slasher,” who in actuality used all kinds of methods to kill his victims, females between the ages of 14 and 44. The son of an Army officer and a kindergarten teacher, Watts confessed to murder fantasies when he was an adolescent but operated for eight years as an adult — from 1974 to 1982 — without being tagged, largely because he left no DNA. In 1982, he was busted breaking into a Houston home where two young women lived. He served a couple of decades in the Texas justice system, which gave him 60 years in exchange for his confessing to 12 murders, and then Michigan nailed him with life sentences in 2004 and 2007 for two more killings. But he only had to live in prison until he was 53.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.