Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski: One of the
Most Diabolical Killers in History
Meagan E. Johnson
East Carolina University
In American history, Richard Kuklinksi is known to be one of the most diabolical self-confessed contract killers. He took credit for more than 200 murders, including the murder of Jimmy Hoffa (Montaldo, 2011).
Richard Kuklinski was born to poor polish parents in the projects of Jersey City, New Jersey on April 11, 1935. His father, Stanley Kuklinski, was a brakeman for the railroad who had a serious drinking problem and would abuse his children along with his wife (Anonymous, 2006). Richards mother, Anna McNally Kuklinski, worked in a meat packing plant. Anna would also abuse Richard by hitting him with broom handles and other household objects to stop him from stealing. In 1940, Florian Kuklinski, one of Richards brothers was beaten to death by their father (Montaldo, 2011). The Kuklinski family lied to the police and said that Florian died after falling down a flight of steps. Richard grew up attending a Catholic grammar school and his father made him work as an altar boy in the church (Anonymous, 2006). In Richards opinion being an alter boy was an embarrassment, he hated his father because of the humiliation he suffered, along with the abuse. By age ten, Richard began acting out against the nuns and priests at school because he was filled with rage. Soon enough, Richard was left to fend for himself, after his father abandoned the family.
Richard committed his first murder in 1949 at the age of fourteen. His first victim was Charlie Lane, who was a local bully and leader of a small gang that had picked on him. Richard ambushed him with a steel clothing rod from his closet and beat Lane to death, by mistake (Montaldo, 2011). For a short time, Kuklinski regretted what he did to Lane, but then changed his mind when he realized how much more powerful and in control he felt. Richard then went and severely beat the remaining six gang members, nearly killing them.
Richard also showed insane cruelty to animals (Anonymous, 2006). He would use his apartment buildings incinerator to throw cats in and watch them burn alive. He would also tie the tails of cats together and throw them over a clothesline to watch them tear each other apart.
While describing his first kill as an adult in the Iceman Tapes, Richard stated that one evening in Jersey City, he killed a man by using gasoline to trigger a car bomb. He was the type of guy that did not put up with disrespect. The man had insulted him in a bar in front of other people, and later that night he found the same man sleeping in his car. Deciding to get back at the guy, he caused an explosion by throwing a bottle of gasoline into the car. As he turned around and walked away, Richard stated that he could hear the man yelling and screaming. He was still screaming and he could smell him as he turned the corner.
Richard was the kind of guy that loved to make deals with people. He would steal cars and trade them in for drugs, guns and food. Kuklinski gained a very respectable reputation by his early twenties (Montaldo, 2011). He was known as an unpredictable tough street hustler who would beat or kill anyone who came off offensive to him or just anyone who he did not like. Kuklinski states “it was during this time that his association with Roy DeMeo, the most feared hit-man of the Gambino Crime Family, was established”. While working at a film lab, he sold pirated pornographic films to people involved with the Gambino Crime Family (Anonymous, 2006). Shortly after this, Kuklinski got involved in business deals with DeMeo.
Doing hit jobs for the family was now Kuklinski’s job. He collected money from debtors working with a gang that operated from the Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn, NY. The debtors either paid the money they owed or paid for their debts with their lives. Bodies were wrapped in plastic once dismembered, to be disposed off....
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