Richard Kuklinski: The Worst Serial Killer You've Never Heard Of
The body count is in the hundreds.
One of the most prolific serial killers you have probably never heard of went by at least three nicknames: “the Polack”, “Big Rich” and “The Iceman” for his disturbing practice of freezing some of his victims in order to confuse the investigation into the time of death. This man's name was Richard Kuklinski, and by all exterior accounts he lived a fairly normal, upper-middle-class lifestyle with a wife and a couple of kids in New Jersey. Kuklinski claims to have had as many as 200 victims, and even claims to have murdered Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa. You see, Richard Kuklinski lived a double life. Family man by day, and Mafia hitman the rest of the time.
Kuklinski’s troubled life started way back in his childhood, and it wasn't long before he developed a deep hatred and mistrust of his father. His father's name was Stanley Kuklinski, and although he did work hard for his family as a railroad brakeman, he had a very dark side. He would regularly beat up his wife and Richard and both of Richard’s siblings as well.
Indeed, the abuse that Stanley would give to Richard and his brothers was so severe Stanley actually ended up beating one of Richard’s brothers completely to death. However, Stanley was never charged for this incident where Richard's 8-year-old brother Florian lost his life. He simply told his scared wife to just tell the authorities that Florian had just fallen down the stairs. However, everybody knew it was a bold-faced lie, and Richard would continue to hate his father until his deathbed when he died at 71 in 2006. Some say the reason Richard became a mafia hitman lies squarely on the actions of his father.
Although it wasn't long after that Richard's dad went the coward route and left the family, this incident always stuck with Richard. Unfortunately he learned that the best way to get bullies off of his case would be through violence. He carried that out to the nth degree at 13, when he actually killed one of his bullies. Richard Kuklinski’s full association with the mob would not come until he was in his later teenage years, when he started work for noted Gambino crime boss Roy DeMeo. Although he originally went to work for the family simply by selling pirated videos, his attention to detail quickly made them realize he would be useful as a contract killer. This is because DeMeo eventually took Kuklinski out in his car and "initiated him". Kluklinski passed the test, killing a random individual without even hesitating.
Kuklinski then embarked on a career that spanned for three decades as a contract killer. He has claimed to have been responsible for over 200 homicides. Many of his stories would literally make your hair stand up on the back of your head. During a 1992 interview with HBO, he detailed some of the more notable ones:
There was a mob informant who was known as “Mr. Softee” because of the fact that he would drive around in an ice cream truck in an effort to look inconspicuous and to hide the fact that he was actually in the mob Kuklinski claims that one of his contracts was to do a hit on this man. His body was found in his ice cream truck, at the date no one has been prosecuted for the murder.
Man At Traffic Light
Another hit that Kuklinski claims he performed was of a man at a traffic stop. He allegedly shot at the man with a sawed-off shotgun and, according to Kuklinski, he “never saw the green light.”
During this interview, Kuklinski also claimed that he had perfected the use of cyanide. He said that on several occasions he had been in a restaurant with one of his targets they have put cyanide in their food and while they went to the bathroom. They were rushed to the hospital and no one ever found out that it was cyanide that killed them.
All in all, a rough dude, and one that reminds me of Tony Soprano. He was definitely someone that you did not want to mess with. Did you enjoy learning about this individual who was involved in organized crime? If so, I would greatly appreciate a tip for my work. Thank you!