Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Story of Richard Kuklinski, The Iceman

One Of The Most Diabolical Killers In History April 11, 1935 – March 5, 2006

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2118/1524304522_ec15217ce8_m.jpg
Richard Kuklinski was born April 11, 1935 to poor Polish parents in a low income housing project in Jersey City. His father was a brakeman for the railroad and his mother worked in a meat packing plant.
He didn’t like his father Stanley, who beat him constantly and his mother Hanna was also very abusive. He grew up going to a Catholic grammar school and worked as an altar boy in the church and he grew up hating his father for the abuse and humiliation he suffered. His father finally abandoned the family, leaving Richard to fend for himself.
In 1949 Richard committed his first murder when he bludgeoned a neighbourhood bully to death at the age of eighteen while protecting his territory. For months after his first kill Richard was terrified and often physically ill, thinking he would be arrested for the crime but he also felt a rush and began to love the feeling of power that he got from the killing. He now saw himself as a someone.
He also expressed an unbelievable cruelty to animals. He would tie the tails of cats and throw them over a clothesline to watch them tear each other apart. He would also put cats into the apartment building incinerator to watch them burn alive.
He had a brother Joey who’d gone to prison at the age of 25 after raping and killing a twelve-year old girl and throwing her body from the roof of a building. He then threw her dog to the ground after her. For this he was sentenced to life at Trenton State Prison….he is now deceased.

Timeline

Richard a man of many deals and usually several at once, stole cars, traded in food, guns and drugs. He worked at a film lab, where he pirated pornographic films and sold them to people connected with the Gambino Crime Family. Eventually he got involved in business deals with Roy DeMeo, the most feared hit-man for the Gambino family.
Soon he was doing hit jobs for the family, working with a gang that operated from the Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn, NY. Richards brutality allowed him to collect money from debtors, who paid with either their money or their lives. In the basement of the Gemini Lounge bodies were hacked up and carried out wrapped in plastic to be disposed of. Because of the fear the he inspired in most people, most repaid their debts to the family.
In 1960 he met 19 year old Barbara Hendren and they married in 1961 and had three children, two girls and one boy. They lived the lives of gamblers – one day they were rolling in money and the next they were broke.
By the 1970′s, Richard had become well off from being a hit man. He lived in an expensive middle-class home in a good neighbourhood with his wife and three children. He charged at least $50,000 per hit and told his family and neighbours that he was a businessman. The Iceman who claims to have killed over 200 people, led a “seemingly” normal family life. He was just the big guy in the split level down the street.
Kuklinski’s mentor DeMeo was a capo in the Gambino crime family and had a nearly psychopathic temper and a bloodthirsty reputation. The members of his Brooklyn crew were young, vicious, and had a taste for the ghoulish. They did their dirty work in an apartment rented by DeMeo’s cousin, a man nicknamed Dracula. DeMeo would make people disappear here. Methods varied but it always involved stabbing the victim’s heart repeatedly to stop the gushing blood, hanging the body over the tub to drain it, carving it up into small pieces, wrapping them tight, then distributing them around the city a Dumpster here, a garbage can there.
Though Richard had committed murders before meeting DeMeo – DeMeo polished the Iceman’s method and showed him how to dispose of bodies more effectively. Richard became so good at it that his teacher commissioned him to do “work” for the Gambino family.
He kept one of his victims frozen for over two years to see if he could disguise the time of death. Louis Masgay’s body was found in Rockland County, New York, wrapped in plastic bags and wearing the same clothes he had worn on the day of his disappearance. He had been shot, but he had only just begun to decay. He looked fresh, as if he had died the day before. When the ME did the autopsy he noticed ice in the tissues. Richard had miscalculated slightly – the plastic wrapping had kept the cold in, and the body had been found a little early, before the ice had melted completely.
Later a witness (a convicted murderer) who had worked for Richard in his rented warehouse in North Bergen had occasion to go into the freezer. The warehouse contained an industrial freezer, and the witness had seen Masgay handing there but had decided not to mention it to anyone least he end up keeping Masgay company. This was the murder that earned Richard Kuklinski his nickname, the Iceman. More Photos–>
He experimented with various methods of killing before settling on his favorite, cyanide. “Why be messy?… You do it nice and neat with cyanide”. But if asked to make someone suffer before death or if he felt the person deserved it, he sometimes put victims in a cave tied up with duct tape and let rats finish the job. Loud mouths especially annoyed him as they reminded him of his father, whom he would have taken great pleasure in killing.
By the 1980s, he had become the leading man in a crime ring and in 1986, a task force of state, local, and federal authorities was set up to investigate past and current evidence possibly related to Richard Kuklinski. The murders were diverse and didn’t appear to have many connections, so an undercover agent was put in place to gather evidence that could put him on trial. On December 17, 1986, the task force set up a road block and arrested Kuklinski. It took five people to restrain him and put him in a vehicle. He was charged with five murders initially and his court trial was widely televised. He confessed to all of the murders, referring to the matter as business. His family was totally shocked and horrified, refusing to believe that Richard was a contract killer.
In his lifetime, he claims to have killed over two hundred people. He says that he feels no remorse for murdering people, but probably wouldn’t do it if he didn’t have to. He says that he doesn’t think about his actions because they do bother him if he thinks about them enough. He regrets being a hit-man since he now feels that he could have done something better. When he was interviewed in 1991 for a documentary, he showed little emotion except when asked about the impact on his family, at which point he began to shed tears.
He is considered one of the most diabolical killers in history and was sentenced to two lifetimes in prison, he could not be given the death penalty as there were not any eye witness to any of the murders. Today Richard resides at Trenton State Penitentiary in New Jersey…. eligible for parole at the age of 111.
How does a man who kills strangers just for fun or to do an experiment manage to have a family life…. or did the killings outside of the family keep him functional within the family? Is he a sociopath? Sociopaths share three common characteristics. They are all very egocentric, have no empathy for others, and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt. Before the age of around 15/16 years, a child showing sociopathic traits will show signs of conduct disorder. Signs of this early stage may include the torturing of animals, fire setting, vandalism, lying, theft, or aggression towards others. This aggression may or may not lead to criminal behavior and often takes the form of domestic violence.
His wife saw him as a man with two distinct sides: the Good Richard and the Bad Richard. These were defined by his moods and behavior. If he were in a good mood, he could be loving, generous and protective. However, the black mood meant such things as beating her up, threatening her, chasing her in a car, and even beating up on himself when he couldn’t get to her. There was no way to predict when the Bad Richard would emerge, and no way to know what he might do. Full Story: The Crime Library
The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for “self-control, planning and judgment.
A second factor believed to be partially responsible for the sociopathic disorder in some cases is the primary socialization of individuals within dysfunctional environments, such as abusive, poorly educated, or poverty stricken homes. Richard himself has offered an explanation To endure being beaten, he distanced himself and thought about other things. He points to his violent brother as proof that such an upbringing warps children.
Timeline:
1949 Kuklinski’s first Murder. He was 14 years old
1961 September 8, 1961 – Barbara and Richard are Married
1964 March 27, 1964 – First daughter was born
1965 April 21, 1965 – Second daughter was born
1965 – 1985 Became contract killer for Roy Demeo, Capo with the Gambino Crime Family
1969 January 13, 1969 – third child was born, a son
1969 Richard’s brother (Joseph) arrested for throwing a girl and dog from roof
1971 Bruno Latini found murdered in NYC
1980 Murder of Detective Peter Calabro
1980 George Malliband’s body found in barrel
1981 Murder of Paul Hoffman
1982 Body of Gary Smith Found under bed in York Motor Hotel
1982 Danny Deppner murdered (article)
1983 Body of Robert Prongay “Mr. Softee” found shot to death
1983 Louis Masgay’s Murder earned him he name of “Iceman
1984 Roy DeMeo found shot to death
1986 Arrested
1988 Sentenced to multiple life sentences. Eligible for parole when he is 111 years old
2006 Kuklinski, who was to be the star witness against Gravano, dies March 6th. Murder charges dropped

“Iceman Dies Age 70″

Richard Kuklinski died of unknown causes in Trenton, New Jersey at the age of 70. Although authorities say they believe he died of natural causes, the timing of his death is considered suspicious by some, as he was scheduled to testify that he had killed a New Jersey police officer in the 1980s on the orders of former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano. A few days after Kuklinksi’s death, prosecutors dropped all charges against Gravano, saying that without the hit man’s testimony they had insufficient evidence to continue.

“I’m The Niceman, Not The Iceman”.

Richard grew up into a man that tolerated no disrespect. He described his first kill as an adult: In Jersey City one evening, he used a car bomb triggered by gasoline to kill a man. The man had insulted him in front of other people in a bar. He found the man sleeping in his car sometime later and he thought “I am really gonna light your fire, you little sucker” and through bottle of gasoline into the car which caused an explosion. Richard said he could hear the man screaming and yelling as he turned around and walked away. As he turned the corner Richard could smell him and he was still screaming. (information taken from the Iceman Tapes}

“There are people all over the country that have died from something that wasn’t natural, lets put it that way.”


He described a test murder he had committed on the street just walking along in a crowd with a handkerchief over his nose and spraying a man with cyanide. The man collapsed and died, and everyone thought he’d had a heart attack. “The best effect is to get ‘em in the nose, they inhale it.” he said But It was not his only method, he could do it with lead, steel, anything.

“Nothing Bothers Me, Nothing At All”.

On December 27, 1982, the decomposing body of Gary Smith was found in a hotel room. Autopsy showed Smith had been poisoned with cyanide The fourth couple to rent the room complained to management of an ungodly odour. When the mattress was lifted, the bloated, blackened body was later identified as Gary Smith.
His wife and children had no idea of his real occupation and to outsiders they seemed like a perfect family. He hated traveling and returned as soon as he could to be with his family as much as possible. He made sure that his family was never given the same horrible childhood that he had endured. He was fascinated by the loving environment he experienced with his family since he had never known such love before. He wants his family to forgive him. Richard was sorry that he hurt the only people he has ever loved and cared for. Can you believed this, “now you see the Iceman crying” he said while shedding tears. (Iceman Tapes)

“Assassin?…That sounds so exotic… I was just a murderer.”

“Why be messy?… You do it nice and calm with cyanide.”

He knew that Medical Examiner’s rarely suspect cyanide and he knew which foods would hide the taste of it. After a few days you can’t find cyanide in a body. That is one reason it is such a good murder weapon. It breaks apart into carbon and nitrogen. The distinctive order of bitter almonds is only noticeable on a fresh body; it is lost as the body decomposes.
Richard used many different ways to kill and he always carried three guns and one knife. He would also use a chainsaw to dismember bodies but did not use it to kill. Just before killing a man that was begging for his life Richard told him he could have thirty minutes to pray and if God would spare his life so would he. The man prayed but since God did not appear to save him, Richard then shot him. “I should not have done it like that” he says he should not have done that one. One time he was asked to cut out a man’s tongue and stick in his rectum, so he complied.
Another time he had a hit for a gay man and had to go inside a club to kill him. He disguised himself as a three hundred pound gay man dressed in a canary yellow sweater and loud pants. He danced up beside the man and stuck him with a hypodermic needle which induced a heart attack. (Iceman Tapes)
“I’m A Hard Working Expediter of Sorts”

“Murder Of Paul Hoffman”

Paul Hoffman a pharmacist, went to meet Richard taking $25,000 with him to make a deal to purchase a hijacked shipment of Tagament. Tagament is a prescription drug used to ease the pain of ulcers. The going rate was $36.00 for 100 tables, Hoffman was going to buy it for $9.00. Hoffman and his station wagon both disappeared. A year later, the car was found in Richard’s rented warehouse, where he stored and moved cars for his auto-theft business. Hoffman’s body was never found but the police think they have a good idea what happened to it. The people who rented the warehouse after Richard left noticed a foul odour coming from the abandoned well, which had been caped off with cement. The police went down but all they saw were some plastic bags and other garbage. The well narrowed and fed into and underground stream, but they could follow it no further.
Paul Hoffman was shot by Richard but it did not kill him. “He was gurgling and looked like he was in a lot of pain, so I hit him with a tire iron and knocked him out. Put him in a fifty gallon drum in front of Harry’s. It was there for awhile and one day it just disappeared”. (taken from the Iceman Tapes)
(article from Hub Pages):

Mafia Torturer – The Story of Richard Kuklinski, The Iceman

Richard Kuklinski was a monster, a brutal and sadistic killer and torturer. Some of the crimes he committed are beyond imagining, the stuff of nightmares. Known as the Iceman and feared throughout the underworld, he was for many years a top mafia hitman, murderer, enforcer and torturer. This is his story.
Early Mug Shot
Early Mug Shot
1982 Mugshot
1982 Mugshot

Early Years of Physical Abuse

Richard Kuklinski was born, the second of 4 children, on April 11, 1935, to poor Polish parents in a low income area in Jersey City. His father was a brakeman for the railroad and his mother worked in a meat packing plant. Both parents were physically abusive to Richard and to his brothers, beating them constantly. In 1940, the beatings resulted in the death of Kuklinski’s older brother, Florian. His parents hid the cause of the child’s death from the authorities, saying he had fallen down a flight of steps. His father finally abandoned the family, leaving them to fend for themselves. In 1949, at the age of 14, Richard committed his first murder. A local gang of youths had begun picking on him, taunting him for having protruding ears and for ‘being Polish’. Full of rage he took a steel clothing rod and bludgeoned the gang leader to death. For months afterwards he was terrified thinking he would be arrested for the crime but he also felt a rush and began to love the feeling of power that he got from the killing. He then went on and nearly beat to death the remaining six gang members. He also expressed an unbelievable cruelty to animals. He would tie the tails of cats and throw them over a clothesline to watch them tear each other apart. He would also put cats into the apartment building incinerator to watch them burn alive. He had a brother who’d gone to prison at the age of 25 after raping and killing a twelve-year old girl and throwing her body from the roof of a building. He then threw her dog to the ground after her. For this he was sentenced to life at Trenton State Prison.

Professional Hitman and Torturer

By his early twenties Kuklinski had earned the reputation as being an explosive tough street hustler who would beat or kill those who he didn’t like or who offended him. According to Kuklinski it was during this time that his association with Roy DeMeo, a member of the Gambino Crime Family, was established. It was the relationship which would define the rest of his life.
As his work with DeMeo advanced his ability to be an effective killing machine was recognized. Kuklinski was a physically powerful man, weighing 300 lbs and standing 6ft 5 inches. He became a favorite hitman for the mob, resulting in the deaths of at least 200 people. The use of cyanide poison became one of his favorite weapons as well as guns, knives, icepicks and chainsaws. He also killed with crossbows, with bats, with clubs, and with plastic bags. He beat people to death with his fists and feet, threw people off buildings, and drowned people. Any way that there was to kill somebody he did it.
Brutality and torture would often precede death for many of his victims. This included his own description of causing his victims to bleed, then tying them up in rat infested areas. The rats, attracted to the smell of blood would eventually eat the men alive. Kuklinski saw himself as something of a rat specialist and set up a video camera to capture the rats at work.
He also specialised in dismembering his victims alive, using a chainsaw. He described this method as ‘messy’. His capacity for violence and torture was absolutely mind-numbing. He killed 13 of his victims after he destroyed their lower spines with a screwdriver. They’d be paralyzed-unable to scream or move-and they had to watch as he cut their bodies apart. When asked why he killed that way Kuklinski said he did it for the exercise.
One man he was hired to kill had raped a Mobster’s daughter. He tied the man to a tree, stripped him of his clothes, and then pulled off the guy’s genitals-literally pulled them off. Then [using a knife] he began slowly slicing off pieces of flesh-just like strips of meat. While the man was still alive Richard poured a box of kosher salt over all his wounds.
Respectable Family Man - With Wife Barbera
Respectable Family Man – With Wife Barbera
Respectable Family Man - With His Daughters
Respectable Family Man – With His Daughters

Family Man

At the same time as he was making a career as a hit man, he met and married Barbara Pedrici, and later fathered two daughters and a son. Much like his father, Kuklinski began to beat and terrorize Barbara and the children. On the outside, however, the Kuklinski family was admired by neighbors and friends as being a happy and well adjusted. Neither his family nor his neighbours were ever aware of his illegal activities, instead believing that he was a successful businessman.
Initially nicknamed “The Polack” by his Italian associates because of his Polish heritage, Kuklinski earned the nickname “Iceman” following his experiments with disguising the time of death of his victims by freezing their corpses in an industrial freezer. Kuklinski himself claims that he used a Mister Softee ice cream truck for this purpose, although the FBI doubts the veracity of this claim.
Soon he was doing hit jobs for the Gambino family, working with a gang that operated from the Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn. Kuklinski’s brutality allowed him to collect money from debtors, who paid with either their money, or their lives. In the basement of the Gemini Lounge, bodies were hacked up and carried out wrapped in plastic to be disposed of. Once he cut off a man’s tongue and inserted it into his anus to get his message across. He did not believe in half measures and because of the fear that Kuklinski inspired in people, most people repaid their debts to the family.
By the 1970s, Richard had become very wealthy from being a hitman. He lived in an expensive middle-class home in a good neighborhood with his wife and children. He charged at least $50,000 per hit and continued to tell his family and neighbors that he was a businessman. His wife never questioned his behavior, even though he left at odd hours and kept his business extremely quiet.
Kuklinski With His Young Family
Kuklinski With His Young Family

Crime And Punishment

By the 1980s, Kuklinski had become the leading man in a crime ring. He became involved in pornography, narcotics, contract killing, and gambling on a worldwide scale. But he became overconfident. His hits started to get sloppy and he began leaving behind evidence, which caused the FBI and police to take a keen interest in him. When three associates of Kuklinskis turned up dead in quick succession, a task force was organized with the New Jersey authorities and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms solely to investigate past and current evidence possibly related to Richard Kuklinski. They found that the murders were diverse and didn’t appear to have many connections, therefore they put an undercover agent in place to gather evidence that could put Kuklinski on trial. Special Agent Dominick Polifrone went undercover and spent a year and a half disguised as a hitman and eventually met and gained Kuklinski’s trust. Kuklinski bragged to the agent about his proficiency with cyanide and boasted about freezing a corpse in order to mask his time of death. Afraid Polifrone would soon become another of Kuklinski’s victims, the task force moved quickly after taping some of his confessions and getting him to agree to do a hit with Polifrone. It became apparent to investigators that Richard was planning on killing the agent, since he was so open about his murders and past experiences with him.
On December 17, 1986, the task force set up a road block and arrested Kuklinski. It took five people to restrain the huge man and put him in a vehicle. He was charged with five murders initially and his court trial was widely televised. He confessed to all of the murders, referring to the matter as business. His family was completely shocked and horrified, refusing to believe that Richard was a contract killer. He was sentenced to two lifetimes in prison, making him first eligible for parole at the age of 111. He was sent to Trenton State Prison, where his brother was already serving his life sentence rape and murder.
Richard Kuklinski spent the remainder of his life in prison. He died at 1:15 AM on March 5, 2006. His death was reportedly due to natural causes, but it is speculated that it was timed perfectly to prevent his testifying against Salvatore Gravano, former Gambino Family underboss. Kuklinski had been going to testify that Gravano had hired him to kill a police officer in the 1980s. Charges against Gravano were dropped after Kuklinski’s death because of insufficient evidence.

Summary

When asked why he had become one of the most diabolical mass murderers in history, Kuklinski cast blame on his father’s extreme physical abuse and admitted the one thing he regretted was not killing him. It is beyond dispute that Kuklinski was shaped by the degrading example of his parents. What is not easy to understand is how he could not feel any regret for his actions, any remorse for his victims and their families. Indeed, during his prison years he revelled in his own publicity and granted interviews to prosecutors, psychiatrists, criminologists, writers, and television producers about his criminal career, upbringing, and personal life. Two documentaries, featuring interviews of Kuklinski by Dr. Park Dietz aired on HBO after interviews in 1991 and 2001 and Philip Carlo also wrote a book in 2006, entitled The Ice Man. During these interviews Kuklinski confessed to several cold-blooded murders and spoke of his ability to detach himself emotionally from his own brutality.

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