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Top 10 Child Prodigies Who Turned Bad

by Daniel Lode
fact checked by Jamie Frater

It seems like every parent hopes that their child will become a prodigy, believing that it will set them up for a great life. Child prodigies are celebrated by society for achieving so much in their short lives, but sometimes, when a prodigy grows up they no longer meet society’s expectations for them. Not only that, but sometimes child prodigies grow into adults that embody the worst kinds of people within our society, a shadow of their former selves. These are 10 child prodigies who grew into evil adults.

Top 10 Most Evil Men

10 Julian Edgren

In his childhood, Edgren was an accomplished piano player, playing in the Westminster Conservatory in High School. His piano playing was an addition to his impressive grades, excellence was simply a part of life. This led to Edgren being accepted to the prestigious Princeton university, playing with Princeton’s Pianist Ensemble. Therefore his fall from grace is all the more shocking.

Drug addiction and drug overdoses are becoming more and more common in the United States and the world at large. Those suffering from addiction are enabled by drug dealers, who callously prey on those with addictive personality traits. Julian Edgren was one of those dealers, supplying students at the prestigious Princeton University, where he was also enrolled. He was initially arrested after a package addressed to him contained several controlled substances, and a search of his apartment revealed many more.

Edgren was eventually convicted on one count of distribution/possession of 5-99 units of prescription drugs and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He only served a year in prison before being released, however he never re-enrolled in Princeton.[1]

9 Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer was the youngest chess grandmaster in world history, gaining the title at age 15. That was only the beginning for Fischer, whose best known game took place in 1972 in Iceland, when he defeated Soviet player Boris Spassky, in what was largely seen as a symbolic victory of Democracy over Communism. In his later years however, particularly after forfeiting the title, Fischer became increasingly unhinged and began spouting particularly anti Jewish remarks and involving himself in controversial religious movements. Given Fischer’s Jewish heritage this was especially surprising.

Fischer’s bizarre behavior crossed the line into illegal activity in 1991 when he traveled to Yugoslavia to compete in a chess rematch against Spassky, which went against U.S sanctions in place at the time. After the match, Fischer went on the run in an attempt to avoid charges in the U.S, continuing his public tirades and even going so far as celebrating the World Trade Center Attacks on a radio broadcast. He was eventually arrested in Japan for travelling on an invalid passport. He spent several months in jail before being granted Icelandic citizenship and was released. He eventually died in Iceland in 2005, never renouncing his views.[2]

8 Brock Turner

Brock Turner was once a very promising young athlete, becoming a 2 time State Swimming champion and Olympic contender. His skills as a swimmer earned him a scholarship to the prestigious Stanford University, where he competed on the swim team. His status as a University athlete gave Turner a certain sense of entitlement and the feeling that he was above the law, and he was known to have engaged in several low level crimes, always getting away with little to no consequences.

This feeling that he was above the law came to a head on January 18 2015 when Turner was caught sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster on Stanford’s campus. Both Turner and his victim were extremely intoxicated at the time of the incident, neither reported having much memory in regards to what happened. Based on witness statements it was clear to authorities that Turner had penetrated the woman while she was unconscious, resulting in the charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. Turner pled Not Guilty, but was convicted nonetheless. In a controversial legal decision, one which only amplifies Turner’s feelings of immunity, Turner was only sentenced to six months in prison, of which he served 3 due to good behavior.[3]

7 Jack Kevorkian

Jack Kevorkian was a kid who questioned everything, and always was familiar with the facts, and was ready to prove his knowledge to anyone willing to listen. This thirst for the truth made him a model student, academically at least. Kevorkian’s academic excellence led to him teaching himself German and Japanese and entering High School out of sixth grade. Kevorkian finished High School in 1945 at the age of 17, further demonstrating his intellect. He later went to university and medical school, becoming a doctor in 1952.

Kevorkian became an increasing proponent for euthanasia throughout his career, believing that terminal paitents should have the choice to end their lives. Most of the medical community did not share his views and viewed Kevorkian as barbaric. Kevorkian decided to take matters into his own hands when he began euthanizing patients while it was still illegal, and in some cases there was evidence they did not want to die at all. Kevorkian claimed that he was doing the right thing, and after several trials and acquittals, Kevorkian decided he wanted to go to prison for his ideals. In 1999, Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder after Michigan closed the loopholes that allowed Kevorkian to get away with killing patients for so long. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with possibility of parole. After several unsuccessful appeals Kevorkian served 8 years in prison. He was eventually released for good behavior in 2007, and although he never returned to practicing medicine, he remained outspoken in his views. Kevorkian died in 2011 of heart and kidney problems.[4]

6 Jennifer Pan

Jennifer Pan is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees to Canada, who fled political persecution in their home country and were determined to make it in their new one. As a result, Pan’s parents placed high expectations on their daughter, and in her early life she often met those expectations. In addition to perfect grades, Jennifer was enrolled in piano, dance and figure skating, all of which she excelled at. She was even considered a competitor for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, however a torn ligament dashed any hope of Pan competing. As she got older however, she could no longer meet her parents expectations and resorted to forging report cards in high school to keep them happy. She also met drug dealer Daniel Wong, with whom she began an on-again off-again relationship, one which her parents strongly disapproved of to the point where they told her she had to choose between them or Wong. She chose her parents and family, a decision she would come to regret.

In light of her not being able to openly see Wong anymore, as well as new restrictions on her life to the point she could not leave her parents house, Pan decided, along with Wong’s input, to have her parents killed, both for her freedom and her share of their estate. Daniel connected Jennifer with a friend of his named Lenford Crawford who said he could perform a hit on Pan’s parents for ten-thousand dollars. Over the next few weeks a plan was put into motion, and on November 8 2010 they acted. Pan left the door unlocked for 3 assailants to enter the house, all armed. Pan’s parents were brought to the basement of the house and both shot in the head. Pan’s mother was killed, however her father survived, but suffered critical injuries. Pan maintained she was tied up by attackers and left in her upstairs room. After several questionable statements to the police, Pan became a suspect in the attack on her parents and eventually was investigated by police. Eventually the murder plot was brought to light. Jennifer Pan, Daniel Wong, Lenford Crawford, David Mylvaganam, and Eric Carty were charged with first degree murder in the attack. All of the accused were eventually convicted of First Degree Murder and sentanced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.[5]

Top 10 Most Evil Women

5 Dinh Bowman

When 42 year old Yancy Noll was shot in his car in a seemingly unprovoked attack, the city of Seattle was thrown into a state of fear, and the desire to know who did it. Police were stumped as Noll was loved by those who knew him and was known to be a cautious driver and gentle giant. The only lead in the case were witness reports that the man who shot Noll was driving a silver BMW coupe with a passenger window broken by gunfire. After following up on several leads, police received a tip indicating that a man named Dinh Bowman was the man they were looking for.

On paper, Dinh Bowman was the last person anyone would expect to be a murderer. The son of a Boeing engineer and a Vietnamese refugee turned homemaker, Dinh Bowman was a gifted child. He entered university at the age of 12 with the goal of becoming an engineer. After graduation, Bowman opened up his own engineering firm specialising in robotics. However, as the police investigated Bowman, a darker picture appeared. In addition to a recently painted BMW coupe with a new passenger side window indicating initial guilt, there was evidence of premeditation on Bowman’s part. On Bowman’s computer there were several videos of him shooting guns, and describing how to shoot through a window. There were also thousands of documents on murder, how to cover up a crime, and what it felt like to kill. Bowman went to trial in 2014 and was convicted of first degree murder in December of that year. Bowman was sentenced to 29 years in prison where he remains to this day.[6]

4 Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was his town’s golden boy. Excelling at football throughout his middle and high school years, Hernandez was loved by everyone. His skills made him a desired player for universities and he received numerous scholarship offers. It seemed like the NFL was a certainty. After playing at the University of Florida, Hernandez was drafted into the NFL playing for the New England Patriots. Playing as a tight end, he helped bring his team to Super Bowl XLVI, but the Patriots lost to the New York Giants.

Hernandez’s glory ended on June 26 2013 when he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, an aquantance of his and the boyfriend of his fiancé’s sister. Further investigation into Hernandez and his acquaintances revealed evidence that Hernandez was the perpetrator of a previously unsolved drive by shooting which resulted in the deaths of 2 men. Hernandez was later charged with these murders as well as Lloyd’s. The Patriots were quick to distance themselves from Hernandez as well as all of his corporate sponsors. On April 15 2015 Hernandez was convicted of First Degree Murder in the death of Odin Llyod, being automatically sentenced to life with no possibility of parole. He was however aquitted of the murders of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado on April 14 2017. On April 19 2017, 5 days after his acquittal, Hernandez committed suicide by hanging in prison.[7]

3 Russell Williams

Russell Williams began life as a fairly normal child, not displaying any signs of being gifted or deranged until his teenage years. When he was in his junior year of High School, he was accepted as a boarding student to the prestigious Upper Canada College, an all boys private school in Toronto Ontario. Not only that but Williams was a Prefect in his senior year, which was one of the most senior positions that a student would hold, only being attainable after being elected by fellow students.

As an adult, Williams joined the Canadian Forces in 1987 and rose through the ranks, attaining the rank of Colonel and commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton. Through his service, Williams was a pilot for the Prime Minister and Governor General of Canada as well as the Queen of England. In addition to his military service, Williams was moonlighting as a killer who terrorised his small Ontario community, killing 2 young women in their homes. In addition to the murders, Williams was a serial burglar who stole women’s and girls underwear to add to a massive collection. Williams was first suspected by police after his car was seen at one of the crime scenes, and tire treads collected at a drunk driving stop matched those found at the scene. He was brought in for questioning soon after, making the mistake of wearing the same shoes to the police station that he had worn to commit the crime. In light of the overwhelming evidence, Williams was arrested. October 18 2010 Williams was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years after pleading guilty to 88 charges including First Degree Murder, Sexual Assault and Breaking and Entering.[8]

2 Dellen Millard

Dellen Millard was born into one of Canada’s most noteworthy aviation families. His grandfather Carl Millard founded the aviation company Millardair and was best known for flying the Toronto Symphony Orchestra across Canada’s north. His father Wayne took over the business and taught his young son the ropes, and began bringing Dellen into the cockpit at 6 years old. At 14 years old, Dellen Millard set a world record as the youngest person ever to fly a helicopter and an airplane on the same day. 14 years later Dellen Millard would grace the headlines again, this time, as one of the accused in a murder case that shocked Canada, the murder of Tim Bosma.

On May 6 2013 Tim Bosma went with 2 men who wanted to test drive a Dodge Ram 3500 that he was selling. That was the last time Bosma was seen alive. Millard, who after being reported by one of his employees to be in possession of a stolen truck that matched Bosma’s, police upgraded Millard to their prime suspect. After a brief investigation, Dellen Millard, along with his friend Mark Smich were charged with First Degree Murder in relation to Bosma’s death. Upon further investigation into the pair they were also charged with First Degree Murder in connection with the death of Laura Babcock, an ex-girlfriend of Millard’s who disappeared without a trace a few years earlier. Millard alone was charged with first degree murder with the death of his father Wayne Millard, who’s death had previously been ruled a suicide.

At trial it was revealed that Tim Bosma was shot in his truck, and his body burned in an animal incinerator and his remains scattered across Millard’s farm. Laura Babcock suffered the same fate although her body was never found. Wayne Millard on the other hand was shot in the head and left in his home in a staged suicide. Millard was convicted of 3 counts of First Degree Murder in 3 seperate trials and recived a life sentance with no possibility of parole for 75 years, the longest prison sentence in Ontario history.[9]

1 Ted Kaczynski

Ted Kaczynski was born in the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park Illinois. From an early age he was a gifted child, particularly in mathematics. Kaczynski skipped several grades, entered high school at a young age and Harvard University at age 16. Kaczynski completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard in 1962 at the age of 20. He then entered graduate school at the University of Michigan and completed his PhD in 1967. He finally took a job as an assistant professor at The University of California Berkeley where his frustrations with modern society and technology began. He left Berkely in 1969 and began living a drifter lifestyle, eventually moving onto a plot of land owned by his brother.

There Kaczynski spent the next 9 years in isolation, his anger against technology and modern society growing stronger by the day. He began his bombing campaign in 1978 after a brief move to Chicago. It was there he mailed a nail bomb to a Professor at Northwestern University, which injured a police officer upon detonation. He continued his campaign of terror for the next 18 years, sending bombs through the mail to several universities, an American Airlines flight and to the president of American Airlines. He finally approached the media and said he would end his bombing campaign if a major newspaper published his manifesto. The Washington Post complied and published the Manifesto as an addition to their daily paper. After reading the manifesto, Kaczynski’s brother David recognised elements of his brother’s worldview and reported his suspicions to the FBI. As a result, Kaczynski’s cabin was raided, and evidence of his crimes came to light. He pled guilty to all charges against him and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.[10]

Top 10 Evil Children

fact checked by Jamie Frater