The Most Diabolic Killer, The Iceman
26 May 2015
Born on April 11, 1935, as a child, Richard Kuklinski was abused by both of his parents. His father was an alcoholic that beat him daily. After becoming intoxicated and beating Richard’s older brother Florian to death, his father abandoned the family. Life was no easier after his abusive father left; his mother hit him routinely, believing her children should be raised in a strict household. Abusive parents weren’t Richard’s only difficulty; because of his small size, he was an easy target for neighborhood bullies. In an effort to cope with his anger, young Richard mutilated cats and dogs to make himself feel more powerful.
Richard was known for being very offensive, not hesitating to strike anyone that rubbed him the wrong way. He always carried at least two daggers and a knife in his pocket while on the streets for protection. He stated that his first murder was in 1949 at the age of 14, when he beat a bully to the death. He felt terrible the first time and was very upset since the death was unintentional. However, he also felt a rush and began to love the rush and the feeling of power that he got from beating other people or killing them.
By the 1960s, he had become a well known street thug and pool hustler. In 1960 he met a woman named Barbara, who thought he was incredibly sweet by delivering flowers to her door every day and buying her gifts frequently. They had three children, but he was not able to get a good enough job to support the family since he only had an eighth grade education. He worked in a film lab, where he pirated, pornographic films and sold them to people connected with the Gambino Crime Family.
Soon he became a hitman for the 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. Because of the fear that Kuklinski might kill them, most people repaid their debts to the family.
Richard was a jack of all trades when it came to killing people; Standing at the monstrous height of 6 feet, 5 inches and weighing in at almost 300 pounds, he was extremely intimidating, he had no preference for a weapon or style, which made him even harder to catch. He used handguns, crossbows, sawed-off shotguns, blunt objects, knives. Richard would sometimes administer poison to his targets by means of injection, placing it in people’s food, aerosol spray, or by simply spilling it onto the victim’s skin.
In the early 1980s, Kuklinski had met and Robert Pronge, known as ‘Mister Softee’; a military-trained demolitions expert turned hit man. Pronge taught Kuklinski how to kill with cyanide and shared his theories about freezing a victim’s body to confuse medical examiners about the time of death, thereby eliminating the need for alibis. Kuklinksi warmed to the idea and decided to try it out for himself.
On September 25, 1983, the body of Louis Masgay was found in a park. Richard had frozen the body two years before dumping it to confuse the time of death, earning him the nickname iceman from investigators. Police were faced with some puzzling initial observations. Masgay had been missing for two years, he was found wearing the same clothes he had been when he had disappeared but the time of death seemed fairly recent.
In 1986, an undercover agent named Dominick Polifrone, told Kuklinski that he was also a hit man, working for wise guys in downtown New York. He recorded Kuklinski talking about his murders and offering to perform a hit for him.
On December 17, 1986, it was arranged for Kuklinski to meet Polifrone to get cyanide for a planned murder, which was to be an attempt on a police detective working undercover. After being recorded by Polifrone, Kuklinksi went for a walk by himself. He tested Polifrone’s (purported) cyanide on a stray dog and saw it was not poison. Suspicious, Kuklinski decided not to go through with the planned murder and went home instead. He was arrested at a roadblock two hours later. A gun was found in the car, and his wife was charged with trying to prevent his arrest.
Over 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 tearing up.
Kuklinski occasionally place his victims in freezers after he murdered them and leave them there for years until he dumped the bodies. This confused investigators who could not figure out the time of death because the victims had been frozen. Using this kind of method he earned the nickname, “The Iceman”.
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