Jean-Baptiste Troppmann


Jean-Baptiste Troppmann

A.K.A.: "The Human Tiger"

Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 8
Date of murders: August-September 1869
Date of arrest: September 22, 1869
Date of birth: October 5, 1849
Victims profile: Jean Kinck, his wife Hortense Rouselle, and their six children Alfred, Henri, Marie, Achille, Emile and Gustave Kinck
Method of murder: Poisoning (prussic acid) / Stabbing with knife or pick / Strangulation
Location: Paris, France
Status: Executed by guillotine in Paris on January 19, 1870

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann (1848-1870) killed for profit. He killed an entire family of 8, one day at a time. He killed the husband who he worked with and then talked the wife into bringing money to her husband who she thought was still alive and then he killed her and worked his way through the family and almost got away with it before others stumbled upon the bodies. Society was indeed fortunate in having caught him early in his murderous career. At 22 he was most likely only starting on what could have been a long career of murder for profit.

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann

Born in Alsace in 1848, Jean-Baptiste's lethality led him to the guillotine at the tender age of 22. In 1869 he hooked up with Jean Kinck with who he planned to set up a counterfeiting operation. However, Jean-Baptiste had a different get rich quick scheme in mind. As the two travelled to Herrenfluch to survey a site for their money printing plant, Troppman fed his partner a lethal dose of prussic acid mixed in wine.

Once Mr. Kinck was out of the way, Jean-Baptiste wired to his wife asking her for money. Mrs. Kinck, believing Jean-baptiste was acting in behalf of her husband, sent him a check allong with her. Unable to cash the money, he arranged a meeting with the wife in Paris and, having no more use for the boy, hacked him into to pieces.

On September 1869, Hortense Kinck met Troppman in Paris and gave him 55,000 francs thinking that they were for her husband. Once he had the money in his pocket he butchered Mrs. Kinck and her remaining five children in a remote spot near the Pantin Common.

The next day the bloodbath was uncovered by a workman who uncovered the mutilated remains of Hortense and her children. More charges were added against Troppman once the bodies of Gustave and Jean Kinck were unearthed. Jean-Baptiste was sentenced to death for the eight killings and, on January 19, 1870 -- at the tender age of 22 -- he was guillotined.

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann, a french serial killer of the 19th century

Just before the war of 1870, the Troppmann case shakes France. the Kinck family, decimated by a greedy murderer, gets national funeral. Jean-Baptiste Troppmann, an Alsatian aged 21, is sentenced to death and executed.

Everything begins on semtember 1869 20th, in the morning. A farmer discovers per chance in an area of alfalfa, between the fort of Auberviliers and the station of Pantin (2 km away from Paris), the corpse of a child. Shattered, he goes alert the authorities.

After digging, the atrociouly mutilated corpses of three children, aged 2, 6 and 10 years, are discovered. then it's the one of a forty year old woman who appears to be pregnant of a 6 months foetus, an eight year old kid and an other one aged 13. All had been stabbed with a knife or a pick, or even strangled.

In Alsace for business

The justice quickly discovers through some cross checkings the identity of the corpses. They are Alfred, Henri, Marie, Achille and Emile Kinck and their mother, Hortense Kinck born Rouselle. They had arrived on the eve at Pantin with the train of Roubaix and had reserved two rooms in an hotel of the town. After having inquired at the hotel manager about some Jean Kinck, the family will disappear...forever.

According to the inquiry led in Roubaix, it appears that Jean Kinck, born at Guebwiller in 1826, had married Hortense Rouselle in 1852 and that from this marriage six children were born. The family was well off and the position of Jean Kinck was enviable. From a simple mechanic he had managed to start his own business in Roubaix and was owning there three houses; moreover he was owning an estate in Buhl where he was planning to retire in his old days.

It was known that on August 25th, Jean Kinck had gone to Alsace for business, followed on the begin of september by his eldest son Gustave, aged 22. Having no news of them since them, the inquirers start to suspect the two men.


On september 22nd, the case bounces in Le Havre, with the strange arrest of a young man first arrested for the lack of papers. When a policeman, quite per chance, speaks about the tragedy of Pantin, the arrested tries to commit suicide by throwing himself into the water. He is saved in time. On him are found the papers of Gustave Kinck.

It's only the next day that he gives his true identity: Jean-Baptiste Troppmann, born of october 5th 1849 at Cernay. Mechanic, he had become the friend of his fellow Jean Kinck, Alsatian and mechanic like him.

Troppmann confesses to have indirectly participated to the sextuple murder but accuses Gustave and Jean to have made the killings. The three men should then have left for America... Jean-Baptiste Troppmann had come to know the family Kinck in Roubaix, where he was in charge of assembling the machine to make nozzles for spinning that his father had invented. The latter was the partner of Jean Gaspard Kambly, son of a chemical matches maker of Cernay. Sooner, he has been an associate if the Hattererand&Co enterprise, maker of nozzles for spinning.

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann seems to have been an introverted and ambitious young man, saddened by the economical problems of his family. He had two brothers and a sister who changed their names after the case. From Le Havre, Troppman is moved to a parisian jail.

On september 26th, new events of the case. 30 meters away from the place of the slaughter, the corpse of Gustave Kinck is discovered, a knife stabbed in his neck. Troppmann Imputes that new murder to Jean Kinck, still not found. On the start of October, at Tourcoing, happens the almost national funeral of the Kinck, before tens of thousands of people. Meanwhile the inquiry goes on, notably in Alsace, in order to find Jean Kinck.

It appears that Troppmann also went to Alsace to meet him on August 25th as he was getting off the train at Bollwiller. They then took the omnibus to Soultz and headed for Wattwiller. That's where the track of Kinck is lost, but not the one of Troppmann. Jean Kinck will be looked for, without success, all the month of october long.

Troppmann in action

On November 12th, new turn of events. Troppmann makes a confession and confirms he went on August 25th with Jean Kinck to the Herrenfluh (ruin above Uffholtz) to show him a workshop of forged money (imaginary) hidden in one of the undergrounds of the castle. "I had in my pocket a flask of prussic acid (cyanide)...Using a moment that Jean Kinck was not seeing me, I emptied the contents of the flask into a bottle of wine, and arrived at the top of the hill, I invited Jean Kinck to drink; what he did and he immediately dropped dead".

Troppmann also confesses to have taken the papers of Kinck of which two checks and his money, then to have buried him. He relates how he asked Mrs Kinck to send him money to Guebwiller's post office. Three times he'll try to retrieve the money, but the employee, distrustful, will refuse.

He relates, as he returned to Paris, how Gustave he attracted will join him on september 17th after a missed attempt in Guebwiller (the forged procuration redacted by Troppmann having no legal signature, the money was not given to him). Troppmann carries on his confession: "I led Gustave to the Hotel where from he wrote to his mother to tell her to go to Paris with her children. I then told him I was going to lead him to his father...When we were in an isolated place, in the middle of the fields, I stabbed my companion in the back. Whether I stabbed him again, I don't remember... I put Gustave into a grave after having robbed him...The kinck lady arrives in the evening of september 19th. I came to join her at the station and I warned her that I was going to lead her to her husband.."

He carries on his mortuary story by relating how, after having taken a cab until the fields, he invites the woman and the two youngest kids to follow him on foot, leaving the three other children in the cab. She doesn't distrust Jean-Baptiste, he is a friend...the relation of the murders is frightening.

He bites the thumb of the executioner

"I killed Kinck to grab the money he said he had in his bank. It was a necessity for me to kill the other members of the family so to suppress all the witnesses" does explain Troppmann to the inquirers.

On november 29th, Troppmann cancels his confession and tries to exonerate himself by inventing three accomplices whose he will never give the identity. He declares to have buried in the neighborhood of Steinbach a mysterious wallet containing all the proofs against his accomplices. It will never be found and the justice will ignore this last confession of Troppmann, probably completely made up... On december 9th, Troppmann is moved to the prison of "La conciergerie" (where Marie-Antoinette was jailed) at Paris.

On December 31st, after five days of trial in the court of assizes, he will be found guilty and sentenced to death. The emperor will refuse to the murderer his pardon. The execution happens on January 19th 1870 before a huge crowd, place de la Roquette, in front of the prison. at 7am exactly, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann is swivelled on the guillotine's board. At the moment that the blade falls down, that curious personage bites the thumb of the executioner. The body of murderer, one of the most atrocious criminels of the 19th century, will be buried in the cemetery of Ivry.


AKA: Human Tiger


DATE(S): 1869

VENUE: France


MO: Murdered entire family during prolonged swindle

DISPOSITION: Guillotined Jan. 19, 1870.

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann

The bloodbath was uncovered by a workman who uncovered the mutilated
remains of Hortense and her children.

Alfred, Henri, Marie, Achille and Emile Kinck and their mother, Hortense Kinck.

Jean-Baptiste Troppmann

The execution happens on January 19th 1870 before a huge crowd, place de la Roquette,
in front of the prison. at 7am exactly, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann is swivelled on the guillotine's board.

At the moment that the blade falls down, that curious personage bites the thumb of the executioner.

Among the multitude were various intellectual worthies, including the liberal Russian author Ivan Turgenev.