Richard the “Ice Man” Kuklinski claimed to have murdered over 250 men. A contract killer for the mafia, Kuklinski was born in Jersey City in April of 1935 and at six feet five inches tall he was an imposing figure.
His parents were abusive to him and his siblings and his alcoholic father ended up beating one of Kuklinski’s brother’s to death. To avoid arrest and imprisonment the family lied to authorities and said Kuklinski’s brother had fallen down the stairs.
At the age of 14 Kuklinski claimed he committed his first murder. A group of boys would bully and beat up Kuklinski who finally snapped and ended up beating the leader of the group to death. Kuklinski claimed he pulled out the boy’s teeth and cut off the tips of his fingers before throwing the corpse over a bridge.
In 1954 Kuklinski began murdering bums on the streets of Manhattan in attempt, he said, to perfect his art in killing. Because the murders were executed using a variety of methods the police assumed the bums were doing it to one another.
Kuklinski later became associated with the Gambino crime family through his association with high-ranking member of the Gambino’s Roy DeMeo. Kuklinski, after murdering an innocent man DeMeo told him to, instantly became DeMeo’s number one enforcer.
Kuklinski claimed that over the next several years he murdered over 200 men. Since he killed individuals in many different ways the police never connected the deaths to a serial killer/hit man.
According to Kuklinski he used everything from firearms to strangulation. He stated his favorite method to employ was poisoning his victims with cyanide. He would place the cyanide in their food, spray it in their faces or put it on their skin.
He disposed of bodies differently as well. He would dismember, bury, leave on public benches and place them in an oil drum or the trunk of a car that was to be destroyed at a junkyard.
Kuklinski was dubbed the Ice Man because he would freeze some of his victims’ bodies for a time before thawing them out and then disposing of the corpses in random places. He did this to throw off the time of death report.
Eventually an undercover agent, who had infiltrated Kuklinski’s life under the guise that he needed a hit done, garnered evidence against Kuklinski in the form of recordings where Kuklinski detailed how the hit would be performed.
Kuklinski was finally arrested in December of 1986 when he met with another undercover agent with the intention to purchase cyanide to use in a hit.
Kuklinski was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 1988. He later admitted to the killing of a police detective (he was allegedly aided by Sammy “The Bull” Gravano) which garnered him an additional 30 years to his sentence.
Kuklinski died in March of 2006 at the age of 70. Since he was supposed to testify against Gravano in the case of murdering the police detective, it has been speculated Kuklinski’s death was a suspicious one.
All charges against Gravano were dropped in the wake of Kuklinski’s death.
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