Richard Leonard Kukilinski


Richard Leonard Kukilinski

A.K.A.: "Iceman"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Contract killer - Worked for several Italian-American crime families
Number of victims: 6 - 100 +
Date of murders: 1949 - 1986
Date of birth: April 11, 1935
Victims profile: Men
Method of murder: Several
Location: New Jersey/New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison, 1988. Died in prison on March 6, 2006

Richard "Iceman" Kuklinski (April 11, 1935 – March 5, 2006) was a convicted murderer and notorious contract killer. He worked for several Italian-American crime families, and claimed to have murdered over 200 people over a career that lasted thirty years. He was the older brother of the convicted rapist and murderer Joseph Kuklinski.

Birth and early life

Richard Leonard Kuklinski was the second of four children born to Stanley and Anna Kuklinski of Polish origin. Kuklinski was born on April 11, 1935 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Stanley Kuklinski worked at a railroad as a brakeman. He was an alcoholic who regularly beat his wife and children. Anna Kuklinski, meanwhile, worked at a meat processing plant. She was extremely strict and a devout Catholic. She, too, would often beat Richard Kuklinski.

When Kuklinski was five years old, his older brother Florian was killed by Stanley during one of his many beatings. On discovering he had killed his son, Stanley ordered Anna to call the hospital and report that Florian had fallen down the stairs and hit his head. Soon, Stanley left his family, and Richard was left to fend for himself. By age 16, he was already known for his explosive temper and his willingness to kill.

First murder

Kuklinski first killed his number one enemy. In 1948, Kuklinski, 13, ambushed and beat Charley Lane, the leader of a small gang of teenagers known as "The Project Boys," who had bullied him for some time. Following a particularly bad beating Richard sought revenge, attacking Charley Lane with a thick wooden dowel eventually beating him to death. Although he denied wanting to kill Lane, the bully did not wake up. Kuklinski then dumped Lane's body off a bridge in South Jersey after removing his teeth and chopping off his finger tips with a hatchet in an effort to prevent identification of the body. The body was never found.

Kuklinski then went in search of the other boys in the gang. He seized a metal pole from a trash can and beat all of them nearly to death. He said in the HBO documentary "Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Hit Man" (1992) that it was the day he killed Charley Lane that he learned it was "better to give than to receive".

According to his own statements, Kuklinski would hurt someone just for making him feel bad about something. His number one pet peeve was "loudmouthed people", because they reminded him of his father. He also stated that he had abused animals as a young child, such as killing cats and dogs by torturing them.

Association with the Gambinos and DeMeo

Association with the Gambino crime family came through his relationship with the mobster Roy DeMeo. Kuklinski stated that he started doing robberies and other assignments for the family, one of which was pirating pornographic tapes. But soon his talent for killing was realized and he stood out amongst his associates, standing 6 feet and 5 inches and weighing 300 lb. DeMeo decided to put him to the test.

One day, he took Kuklinski out in his car and they parked on a city street. DeMeo then selected an apparently random target, a man out walking his dog. He then told Kuklinski to kill him. Without questioning the order, Kuklinski got out and walked towards the man. As he passed him, he turned and shot the man in the back of the head. From then on, Kuklinski was DeMeo's favorite enforcer.

Over the next thirty years, according to Kuklinski, he killed numerous people, either by gun, strangulation, knife, or poison. The exact number has never been settled upon by authorities, and Kuklinski himself at various times claimed to have killed between 33 and 200 individuals.

He favored the use of cyanide since it killed quickly and was hard to detect in a toxicology test. He would variously administer it by injection, putting it on a person's food, by aerosol spray, or by simply spilling it on the victim's skin. One of his favorite methods of disposing of a body was to place it in a 55-gallon oil drum.

His other disposal methods included dismemberment, burial, or placing the body in the trunk of a car and having it crushed in a junkyard. He also claimed to have left bodies sitting on park benches on more than one occasion.

Despite Kuklinski's claims that he was a frequent killer for DeMeo, none of DeMeo's crew members that later became witnesses for the government claimed that Kuklinski was involved in the murders they committed. Only photographed on one occasion at the Gemini Lounge, he reportedly visited the club to purchase a handgun from the Brooklyn crew.

Kuklinski once claimed to have been responsible for the 1983 murder of Roy DeMeo, although the available evidence and testimony points to the murderers being fellow DeMeo crew associates Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter as well as DeMeo's supervisor in the Gambino family, Anthony Gaggi.

According to Kuklinski, at the same time he was allegedly a career hit man, he met and married Barbara Pedrici, and later fathered two daughters and a son. His family and neighbors were never aware of his activities, instead believing that he was a successful businessman. Sometimes he would get up and leave the house at any time of the day or night to do a job, even if it was in the middle of dinner.

Initially nicknamed "The Polack" by his Italian associates because of his Polish heritage, Kuklinski earned the nickname "Iceman" following his experiments with disguising the time of death of his victims by freezing their corpses in an industrial freezer. Kuklinski himself claims that he used a Mister Softee ice cream truck for this purpose, although the FBI doubts the veracity of this claim.

Later, he told author Philip Carlo that he got the idea from a hitman nicknamed "Mister Softee", who drove a Mister Softee truck to appear inconspicuous. Kuklinski's method was uncovered by the authorities when Kuklinski once failed to let one of his victims properly thaw before disposing of the body on a warm summer's night, and the coroner found chunks of ice in the corpse's heart.

Kuklinski became friendly with a man named Robert Pronge, the man nicknamed Mister Softee. Pronge supposedly was a military-trained demolitions technician. It was from him that Kuklinski learned of the different methods of using cyanide to kill his victims. Kuklinski also stated that Mister Softee was "extremely crazy".

In 1984, Robert Pronge was found shot to death in his truck. Most believe Kuklinski was the perpetrator, but the killer was never found.

State and federal manhunt

When the authorities finally caught up with Kuklinski in 1986, they based their case almost entirely on the testimony of an undercover agent. New Jersey State Police detective Pat Kane started the case 6 years prior to the arrest and the investigation involved a joint operation with the New Jersey Attorney General's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Special Agent Dominick Polifrone had undercover experience specializing in Mafia cases. The New Jersey State Police and the Bureau began a joint operation. Detective Kane recruited Phil Solimene, a close friend of Kuklinski, who introduced undercover agent Polifrone to the killer.

The Bureau agent had acted like he wanted to hire Kuklinski for a hit and recorded him speaking in detail about how he would do it. When state police and federal agents went to arrest Kuklinski they blocked off his street, and it took multiple officers to bring him down.

In the process of doing so Mrs. Kuklinski was also arrested and charged with gun possession because the car was in fact registered under her name. When Mrs. Kuklinski was arrested a police officer put his boot on her back while detaining her. This enraged Kuklinski and that is one the reasons why they needed multiple officers to bring him down.

Incarceration and death

In 1988, a New Jersey court convicted Kuklinski of five murders and sentenced him to consecutive life sentences, making him ineligible for parole until age 110. In 2003, he pleaded guilty to the 1980 murder of NYPD detective Peter Calabro and drew another 30 years.

In the Calabro murder, in which Sammy "The Bull" Gravano was also charged, Kuklinski said he parked his van on the side of a narrow road, forcing other drivers to slow down to pass. He lay in a snowbank until Calabro came by at 2 a.m., then stepped out and shot him with a shotgun.

During his incarceration, Kuklinski granted interviews to prosecutors, psychiatrists, criminologists, writers, and television producers about his criminal career, upbringing, and personal life. Two documentaries, featuring interviews of Kuklinski by Dr. Park Dietz (best-known for his interviews with and analysis of Jeffrey Dahmer) aired on HBO after interviews in 1991 and 2001. Philip Carlo also wrote a book in 2006, entitled The Ice Man.

In one interview, Kuklinski claimed that he would never kill a child and "most likely wouldn't kill a woman". However, according to one of his daughters he once told her that he would have to kill her and her two siblings should he happen to beat her mother to death in a fit of rage. At the same time, his wife Barbara has stated that he never actually did hurt the children.

He also confessed that he once wanted to use a crossbow to carry out a hit but not without "testing" it first. While driving his car, he asked a random man for directions, shot him in the forehead with the crossbow, and stated that the arrow "went half-way into his head."

He also claimed that on multiple occasions, he would kidnap his victims, and rather than conventionally murdering them, he bound their hands and feet with tape. He then left the victims in a cave in the wilderness where they were eaten alive by rats attracted by the victim's cries. Kuklinski claimed he filmed these deaths as proof to the buyer that the people did suffer before death.

In one interview, Kuklinski confessed that he only regretted one murder, which he deemed particularly cruel. As he was about to kill a man, the man began praying to God for his life. Kuklinski told him that he would give God 30 minutes to save him, but once the time was up, he would be killed. Forcing the man to wait 30 minutes for his demise struck Kuklinski as his most sadistic murder.

Kuklinski died at the age of 70 at 1:15 a.m. on March 5, 2006. He was in a secure wing at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey, at the time, although the timing of his death has been labeled suspicious; Kuklinski was scheduled to testify that former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano had ordered him to murder New York Police Department Detective Peter Calabro. Kuklinski had admitted to murdering Calabro with a shotgun on the night of March 14, 1980. He denied knowing that Calabro was a police officer, but said he would have murdered him regardless.

At the time Kuklinski was scheduled to testify, Gravano was already incarcerated for an unrelated charge, serving a 19-year prison sentence for running an ecstasy ring in Arizona. Kuklinski also stated to family members that he thought "they" were poisoning him. A few days after Kuklinski's death, prosecutors dropped all charges against Gravano, saying that without Kuklinski's testimony there was insufficient evidence to continue. At the request of Kuklinski's family, forensic pathologist Michael Baden examined the results of Kuklinski's autopsy to determine if there was evidence of poisoning. Baden concluded he died of natural causes

Involvement with Jimmy Hoffa disappearance

In April 2006, news reports surfaced that Kuklinski had confessed to author Philip Carlo that he was part of a group who kidnapped and murdered famed union boss Jimmy Hoffa.

However, during the earlier HBO interview he denied any knowledge of Hoffa's fate. Kuklinski claimed that he had only heard rumors, specifically, that Hoffa had been killed, put in a barrel, placed into a Japanese car which was compacted with other cars, and shipped overseas.


Carlo, Philip The Ice Man, p. 299, St. Martin's Griffin, 2006, New York ISBN-13: 978-0-312-37465-5 ISBN-10: 0-312-37465-8

Richard Kuklinski


-Richard 'Iceman' Kuklinski, about methods of murder.

Born in 1935 to a dirt-poor Polish mother, Richard Kuklinski grew up to be a wealthy husband, father, professional hitman, car thief, and got involved in every type of organized crime imaginable.

Look up the phrase 'Evil Bastard' in the dictionary, and Kuklinski's picture will be there.

I'm not sure if he qualifies for the label of serial killer, but he is noteworthy for sheer brutality and cunning. He is a completely sane man, and all the more frightening because of that.

It all started when he bludgeoned a neighborhood bully to death at fourteen. For months afterward he was terrified and oftentimes physically ill, sure he would be arrested for the crime. That day never came, though, and Richard gained confidence in himself, creating the inflated ego that would stay with him throughout his 'career'. A man possessed of a brilliant mind, Richard soon sank himself into the world of organized crime. He was a hitman at times, and after his arrest said that he only killed to support his family. Gee, what a swell guy.

This statement was as far from the truth as one could get. While driving on the highway one night, he was cut off by a young man. Experiencing a hellacious case of Road Rage, Kuklinski ran the boy off the road, beat him, ran over the body several times, and left him lying in the ditch.

That incident was one of many. If anything good can be said of this man, who was referred to by his business parteners as the 'one man army' and the 'devil himself', he was very protective of his family. A colleague (ao to speak,) showed up at his home during a barbecue, which was a BIG mistake, and weeks later turned up dead.

Linked to around one hundred killings, Richard was into poisons, especially cyanide. For fun he would fill a nasal spray bottle with cyanide, and, while walking down the street, sneeze into a handkerchief. While doing so, he would spray the cyanide into the face of a passerby, killing them almost instantly.

Richard earned the name 'Iceman' for his clever disposal of one body. Kuklinski murdered a pharmacist and kept his body frzozen for two years. After those two years passed, the victim's body was found alongside the highway, still partially frozen. The coroner said that if the body had been thawed completely before dumping it, it would have been impossible to determine when the man died.

Following his arrest, police searched for a deep freeze or some other freezer large enough to store the body of a grown man for two years. No deep freeze was found in either his home or the secret garage space he rented for 'business transactions'.

The source he bought cyanide from was, ironically, an ice-cream truck driver. The freezer inside the truck was the only place large enough to fit a human body. For two full years, Richard's poison purveyor/ice cream truck-driving buddy may have had to reach around a body to find the popsicles. When asked if the ice cream freezer held the pharmacist's remains, Kuklinski only smiles.

He also murdered a man he was doing business with in the rented garage space. Once the man had died, Richard stuffed him into a 55-gallon drum, filled the drum with cement, and left it outside the victim's favorite hotdog stand. Every day thereafter Richard would visit the hotdog stand, and while he ate would find amusement by looking at the metal drum on the sidewalk, pleased with his cleverness. Eventually the owners of the hotdog stand had the drum removed from their property, and police assume it was taken to a land fill with all the other garbage. To this day, the body has never been recovered.

In 1986 the police caught up with Kuklinski by employing an undercover cop to pose as a 'customer' needing a hitman, some cocaine, etc. Incarcerated in New Jersey, Richard Kuklnski will not be eligible for parole until his one hundred and eleventh birthday.

Iceman dead

March 8, 2006

Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a Dumont hit man who turned raging psychosis into a string of lucrative killings, died Monday in the prison wing of a Trenton hospital.

Following him to the grave is a murder charge against Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, a former Gambino crime family underboss charged with hiring Kuklinski 26 years ago to kill a New York City detective in Upper Saddle River.

But an associate of the hit man's family said Monday that a new mystery has arisen: What killed the 70-year-old Kuklinski?

"He was healthy and robust and he got sick all of a sudden," said Philip Carlo, a New York author who is about to release an extensive Kuklinski biography and had been in constant contact with him the past two years. "Family members believe he was poisoned."

Four months ago, Kuklinski suddenly developed heart, lung and kidney problems, the author said. He also suffered from dementia and could not even remember his wife's phone number or the names of his three children, Carlo said.

Deirdre Fedkenheuer, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, confirmed that Kuklinski died at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, where he was being treated for an undisclosed medical problem.

Fedkenheuer said federal law prevents her from releasing a cause of death. She said only that Kuklinski died of natural causes in the hospital's prison wing.

Kuklinski had recently been moved from New Jersey State Prison to the hospital. Sources said he had been in declining health for some time.

With the demise of their star witness, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Monday that authorities were dropping the case against Gravano.

"I cannot proceed with this particular matter at this juncture and will be requesting that the court dismiss [it]," he said, following a daylong review of Gravano's file.

At 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, the heavily bearded and tattooed Kuklinski became a horror-movie-type villain not just in New Jersey but nationally. In a pair of HBO television specials, Kuklinski detailed the gruesome fates of what he said were 100 victims.

For Kuklinski, killing was a business tactic used to cover up numerous robberies and thefts. Kuklinski shot, stabbed, strangled and poisoned his way into the upper echelon of mass murderers. As a Gambino family enforcer, he was known for killing with such ease that even "wiseguys" became timid around him.

He claimed to have blown up one man with a grenade, stuffed another into a barrel of quick-drying cement and killed another by poisoning his hamburger and stuffing him under a North Bergen motel bed.

He said he also killed Robert Prongay, a Mister Softee ice cream truck driver whose bullet-riddled body was found hanging inside a garage on Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen.

Kuklinski was arrested by New Jersey authorities in 1986 and charged with five murders. He was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to consecutive life terms for killing Gary T. Smith in 1982 and Daniel E. Deppner in 1983. The two Vernon men had worked under Kuklinski in a robbery and theft ring.

At the trial, Kuklinski was accused of strangling the men after poisoning both with cyanide.

He also pleaded guilty in 1988 to the robbery and shooting deaths of two Pennsylvania businessmen. He froze one of the bodies for months to confuse investigators about the time of death, thus earning him his "Iceman" nickname.

New Jersey State Police captured Kuklinski with the help of Dominick Polifrone of Hackensack, at the time a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who, posing as a mobster, taped Kuklinski admitting to several killings. It was only after Kuklinski was arrested that Polifrone learned that he was next on the hit man's list.

"The problem was that I was one step ahead of him," the now-retired Polifrone said Monday.

"[Expletive] him," Polifrone added. "He is lucky he had this long life he had in prison. He should have died a long time ago."

A cop's murder

More than a decade into his life sentence, Kuklinski seemed to have faded into oblivion. Then, in 2001, he appeared in an HBO special and said he was the gunman who – at the behest of Gravano – killed New York City Police Detective Peter Calabro on the night of March 14, 1980.

Kuklinski said he popped from behind a double-parked van on a snowy winding road and fired into Calabro's windshield. Gravano, sitting in a car nearby, kept in touch with him by walkie-talkie.

Kuklinski pleaded guilty to the murder in early 2003. A week later, Molinelli brought murder charges against Gravano, 60, who is serving a 20-year term in federal prison for a drug conviction.

Kuklinski was scheduled to testify that he met Gravano at a New Jersey diner, where he received a shotgun and about $30,000 to kill Calabro.

Kuklinski didn't even know Calabro was a police officer, Carlo said. "But he told me that even if he knew, he would have killed him anyway."

Gravano case dead

Once Gravano "ratted out" the mob in the 1990s, bringing down dozens of capos, Carlo said, Kuklinski felt he had no more allegiance to "Sammy the Bull."

Gravano's lawyers called the claims "ridiculous." But this much is sure: Without Kuklinski, the case against Gravano has all but collapsed.

"I regret that a jury is not going to have an opportunity to determine who killed this police officer," Molinelli said. "We do have evidence to corroborate Kuklinski's testimony, but it's not enough."

That doesn't mean the case is closed, the prosecutor warned. "Perhaps in the weeks, months and years ahead, further information may be learned which may shed further light upon this matter."

One of Gravano's attorneys said Monday that he was both satisfied and disappointed.

"We had every confidence in the world that the evidence would have shown Gravano was completely innocent of this crime," said lawyer Peter Quijano. "But we are somewhat disappointed that we didn't have the opportunity to vindicate him of these shameless accusations."

Anthony Bruno, a Philadelphia author who wrote a biography of Kuklinski in the 1990s, also had mixed feelings.

"He wasn't a nice man and he wasn't an asset to society," Bruno said.

"I can't say I am saddened by his death, but one of my main subjects is no longer around."

'Iceman' timeline

December 1986: Richard Kuklinski is arrested outside his Dumont house and charged with five murders.

March 1988: Kuklinski is convicted of murdering two underlings in his burglary ring, Daniel E. Deppner and Gary T. Smith, both of Vernon. He is sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole until age 111.

May 1988: Kuklinski pleads guilty to fatally shooting George Malliband and Louis Masgay, both of Pennsylvania. In return for his plea, the state drops a charge against Kuklinski for the April 1982 slaying of Paul Hoffman, a Cliffside Park pharmacist. Kuklinski had confessed to Hoffman's slaying, state investigators said.

1992: Kuklinski says during an HBO program that he killed up to 100 people.

1993: Kuklinski says in a book that he murdered Roy DeMeo, a Gambino crime family member, in 1983. He also takes credit for murdering Robert Prongay of North Bergen, whose body was found in 1984.

2001: Kuklinski appears in a second HBO special and claims he was paid by the mob to kill New York City Police Detective Peter Calabro.

February 2003: Kuklinski is charged with, and pleads guilty to, Calabro's murder. Kuklinski implicates former Gambino family underboss Salvatore "Sammy The Bull" Gravano. A week later, Gravano is charged with the killing.

December 2003: Gravano appears in court and pleads not guilty to murder.

March 6, 2006: Kuklinski, who was to be the star witness against Gravano, dies. Authorities drop murder charges against Gravano.

Richard Kuklinski: The Iceman

Going To Florida

Cyanide poisoning is a terrible way to die. It interferes with the cellular enzyme system that processes the body's utilization of oxygen: The victim asphyxiates as the cells starve. If ingested, there's a burning in the mouth and throat, and the victim quickly grows dizzy and disoriented. While it's possible to survive cyanide, it's a fast-acting poison that tortures as it kills. Often the pathologist doesn't think to look for cyanide as a cause, because the pinkish spots on the skin are consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning as well. However, if detected before the body absorbs it, a bitter almond smell lingers in the corpse's mouth, tipping savvy investigators to cyanide's use.

Murder by poison is usually committed in families or close groups, because the victim generally must ingest it. That requires getting close and even developing a bit of trust.

That's what the Iceman counted on.

Richard Kuklinski, a scam artist, had learned how to use cyanide to take out those who stressed him, and now he had to take care of one of his own associates. Gary Smith helped him steal cars to resell for profit, but he was a weak man and the police were on to him. There was a warrant out for Smith's arrest on the charges of stealing and cashing checks. It was just before Christmas in 1982 and to shield Smith, Kuklinski was moving him around from one New Jersey motel to another. It wasn't that he liked Smith. It was that he was afraid that the man would talk. Already he'd defied orders and hitchhiked home to see his daughter. There was clearly no way to control him…. except for one.

Fellow car thief Danny Deppner assisted him, but there was a warrant out for Deppner as well, and he, too, could not keep his mouth shut.

Kuklinski let Deppner know through his estranged wife, Barbara, that it was time for Gary to "go to Florida," which meant it was time for him to die. Kuklinski had tired of hiding him and footing the bill, not to mention bringing him food every day in whatever hotel he was in. He was concerned that one or the other of these men would willingly make a deal to save his own skin, and he was not going to let that happen. If Kuklinski was anything, he was careful.

One evening in December, in the York Motel off Route 3 near the Lincoln Tunnel, Kuklinski brought hamburgers to room 31. Smith liked burgers, so that made things easier. Kuklinski handed over the bag of food, giving one wrapped burger to Deppner, who knew that his was okay. They both watched as Smith wolfed down the other burger, but nothing happened.

Kuklinski was puzzled. He'd mixed cyanide in ketchup and it was supposed to work pretty fast, but Smith wasn’t showing any sign of it. He Took another bite. Then he started to choke.

Kuklinski was pleased. Finally the stuff was working. Smith was losing control, but he still wasn’t dying quickly. Kuklinski signaled to Deppner that it was time for the next step. Deppner took a lamp cord and put it around Smith’s throat. He tightened it several times until his colleague-in-crime was no longer breathing. Even s he performed this grisly tsk, he probably knew he was watching how his own death would play out one day…maybe soon.

When Barbara Deppner failed to return with a car to remove the body, Kuklinski had Smith placed beneath the mattress and box springs. Let someone else find the guy.

And someone did. Four days later, just after Christmas, the fourth couple to rent the room complained to management of an ungodly odor. When the mattress was lifted, the bloated, blackened body that had been baking all that time in the heated room was found. It was later identified as Gary Smith.

While Deppner did the killing, he realized that now he knew too much. Kuklinski didn't like that about anyone. When people learned too much about his business, they were gone. Deppner knew that his turn was next and there was nothing he could do about it. Since there was a warrant out for him for burglary and car theft, like Smith, he was being kept in a variety of motels, compliments of Kuklinski.

Then one day in January 1983, there were no more trips to motels for Kuklinski. The "problem" had been solved.

It wasn't until May that a giant turkey buzzard signaled Deppner's whereabouts. A man on a bicycle rode closer to see what the bird was doing and noticed a large shape wrapped in green garbage bags. When he saw a face and arm sticking out from a tear in the bag, he alerted the police.

They noted that the dumpsite was just over three miles from a ranch where the Kuklinski family often went riding. From photos in his possession, they were able to identify him. The cause of death was "undetermined," although pinkish spots on the skin were noted and photographed.

Kuklinski became a prime suspect, but he proved to be the devil himself when it came to getting evidence on him. The man was clever and elusive.

These were not Kuklinski's first murders. In fact, he'd been killing since he was fourteen years old, usually for profit but sometimes just to rid himself of a problem. By the time he took out Smith and Deppner, he'd been a hit man for the Mafia. But it wasn't his sociopathic personality that earned him the nickname "The Iceman." It was something else.

Hit Man

Richard Kuklinski always had a deal going, and usually several at once. He stole cars and expedited trade in pornography, guns, and drugs.

Anthony Bruno points out in his book, The Iceman, written with Kuklinski's cooperation, that he first killed someone in 1949 when he was fourteen years old. Protecting his territory against a bully, he fatally beat the other boy, although it surprised him to hear the next day that the kid was actually dead. It also filled him with a sense of power. He now perceived himself as "someone." He grew up into a controlling man who tolerated no one's defiance or disrespect.

On a televised documentary on HBO, Kuklinski described his first premeditated kill as an adult: In Jersey City one evening, he'd used a car bomb triggered by gasoline to kill a man. As he walked away from the exploding car, he felt nothing. That was his way. He detached himself from his victims, an attitude that he claims came from having to detach himself from the abuse his drunken father inflicted on him as a boy.

In fact, he had a brother Joey who'd gone to prison at the age of 25 after raping and killing a twelve-year-old girl and throwing her body from the roof of a building. He threw her dog to the ground with her, and for that he got life in Trenton State prison.

Kuklinski planned on avoiding that fate but he didn't really care who he hurt. He just had to make sure it couldn't be traced to him.

Eventually he got involved in business deals with the Brooklyn-based Roy DeMeo, a one-time butcher's apprentice and the most feared hit man for the Gambino crime family. While Kuklinski wasn't great about collecting money due, DeMeo saw that "the Pollack" had what it took to kill people. Kuklinski admitted that he'd do anything for money, so DeMeo took him to a place where they spotted a man out walking his dog. Without a thought, and on command, Kuklinski walked by the man and then turned and shot him. That brought him deeper into DeMeo's inner circle and he witnessed DeMeo's volatile moods.

In fact, DeMeo had a strange assembly-line approach to his killings. According to a former associate, the target person would walk into the club. He'd be shot by one person, wrapped in a towel by another, and stabbed in the heart by yet a third person. Then he'd be cleaned up, drained of blood, laid out on a pool liner, and hacked into pieces that were packaged like meat and tossed into a dump. Kuklinski knew he had to be careful, and once for no apparent reason he was nearly annihilated by the paranoid DeMeo.

Yet when DeMeo's renowned temper and mania for killing became disorganized and conspicuous, he fell out of favor with the Gambino family. A hit was put on him and eventually he was found shot to death in the trunk of his car in January of 1983. While by some reports, Nino Gaggi did the hit, Kuklinski smiles at the idea that it might have been done by him. "He outlived his usefulness," was Kuklinski's comment. At any rate, the man responsible for well over one hundred killings was now gone, but not before he'd taught Kuklinski a thing or two.

Apparently he killed a number of other people during the 1970s, but the first one that police linked to him was George W. Malliband, Jr., from Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, who was in the pornography trade with Kuklinski. Early in 1980, he left home with Kuklinski to meet with Roy DeMeo. Malliband owed DeMeo money, and since Kuklinski had vouched for him, it was now on Kuklinski's head. DeMeo was furious and it would be in character for him to shoot them both dead on the spot.

What Malliband did not realize is that Kuklinski's own anger had been simmering since Malliband had come to his home the summer before. Kuklinski never allowed his business to penetrate his family life, and he'd been furious when Malliband had just walked into his yard during a family gathering, asking for him. Now that he was in a bind, Malliband reminded Kuklinski that he knew where his family lived. It was a veiled threat and that was the last idea Malliband ever had. Kuklinski pulled over and shot him five times with a .38, right there in the van.

Then he was faced with a body disposal problem. He decided to put the guy into a 55-gallon steel drum, but Malliband was six-foot-three and weighed 300 pounds—almost matching Kuklinski's own enormous frame. Kuklinski knew it wouldn't be easy, and it wasn't. He stuffed the corpse into the drum, headfirst, and found that he couldn't quite make the legs fit in. The answer was to break one. Cutting the tendons behind the knee, he snapped the leg forward. Then he placed the top on the barrel, secured it, and rolled it off a cliff in the Palisades. It hit some sixty feet below.

Kuklinski paid off DeMeo and washed his hands of George Malliband.

On February 5, the owner of a Jersey City building at the foot of the cliff noticed the dented drum. The lid had popped and something was sticking out, so he went closer. When he saw two bloody human legs, he ran to get the police. They traced the corpse's identity, and soon heard from Malliband's brother that he had been seriously afraid of Kuklinski. They now had a suspect.

It was a year and a half before a similar murder was performed, and much longer before the victim was identified, mostly due to an idea Kuklinski got from a man named Robert Prongay, a.k.a., Mister Softee.

Mister Softee

Robert Prongay sold ice cream out of his truck to kids in North Bergen, even as he was dreaming up unique new ways to kill someone. He was an army-trained demolitions expert who was highly versed in the art of destruction. He teamed up with Kuklinski for several deals in the pornography trade, doing hits for Roy DeMeo when needed. Kuklinski learned a lot from Mister Softee.

One thing that Prongay was good at was using various types of drugs and chemicals to take a life, though he preferred cyanide. He taught Kuklinski how to put cyanide into a spray bottle, which could be used quickly and easily to take someone out. Once the poison got into them through the nose, they were gone. He even demonstrated the technique, and in less than fifteen seconds Kuklinski watched a man fall down dead in the street. Somehow Prongay managed to get cyanide quite easily and Kuklinski never learned his source.

Prongay also experimented with other things. He wanted to know, for example, if a body kept frozen could foil the medical examiner's reading for time of death. If so, then a killer did not have to worry about an alibi.

Louis Masgay became the guinea pig. Masgay was to bring a rather large amount of cash to Kuklinski for a shipment of blank videotapes. He'd already attempted this exchange several times before, and each time Kuklinski had stood him up. Masgay didn't realize that this was part of Kuklinski's MO: get his targets all worked up over some nonexistent deal, increasing both the anticipation and the price each time.

On July 1, 1981, Masgay left his home in Pennsylvania with around $95,000, expecting a huge profit. But he never returned. The only sign that something had happened to him was his abandoned van, found on Route 17 in Bergen County. The secret panel in which he'd kept the cash had been ripped out and the money was gone.

From different stories pieced together, it's apparent that Mister Softee helped Kuklinski hide the body. One witness later claimed to have seen it hanging in a large industrial freezer in a warehouse rented by Kuklinski, but there was some reason to believe that the corpse had lain for at least part of the time in the freezer in Mr. Softee's ice cream truck----the one out of which he served ice cream. No other freezer was found in the garages of either Kuklinski or Prongay large enough to store a body.

It was two years before Masgay's body was actually found, just over the Jersey border in Rockland County, New York. He'd been shot and wrapped in plastic garbage bags. Oddly, he had on the same clothing he'd worn the day he vanished, but the medical examiner thought the body looked fresh. Yet during the autopsy, ice crystals inside the tissues gave away what had happened.

Had Kuklinski only waited until the corpse had thoroughly thawed, he'd have gotten away with his attempt to foil the reading of the postmortem interval. When Masgay was identified through his fingerprints, Kuklinski became a chief suspect. The cops started calling him the Iceman.

Yet that didn't stop Kuklinski. He went on to kill a pharmacist, Paul Hoffman, 51, in the spring of 1982. Hoffman had been pestering him endlessly to get a shipment of Tagamet, a prescription ulcer medication, for a cut-rate price. Kuklinski had nothing for him but led him to believe a shipment was in. Hoffman was to bring $25,000. Hoffman put the cash together and went eagerly to see Kuklinski at his rented garage in North Bergen, New Jersey. That was the last his family ever saw of him.

Kuklinski eventually admitted to shooting and beating him with a tire iron, and then cementing the pharmacist into another steel drum. He left the drum outside a motel next to a hot dog stand in Little Ferry, New Jersey. Occasionally he'd go have a hot dog and see if the barrel had been discovered. Eventually, it was just gone. Apparently someone had moved it and to this day Hoffman's body was never found.

Then in 1984, it was Mister Softee's turn to die. He argued over something with Kuklinski and threatened his family. That was sufficient for Kuklinski to get rid of him. Robert Prongay was found shot to death in his Mister Softee truck in his garage in North Bergen…just across the street from Kuklinski's garage.

Unfortunately for him, he'd also cut off his source of cyanide, which would prove regretful in the near future.

Operation Iceman

Having collected what information they could on Richard Kuklinski, a task force was formed to try to stop him. At that point they had no idea that Kuklinski would use almost any weapon---a bomb, a gun, a knife, strangulation, poison---to accomplish his lethal goals. Once he'd even decided to try out a crossbow. He opened his car window as if to ask directions, and when a man approached, he released the arrow. It went through the man's head, killing him. Kuklinski was happy to know that it worked. Another time, he just shot a man at a traffic light.

Although law enforcement did not realize it, as an enforcer and a free-lance scam artist, he may have killed over one hundred men, and later he admitted that loudmouths especially annoyed them. They reminded him of his father, whom he'd have taken great pleasure in killing.

"I'm a hard-working expediter," he later said. "I'd do something that someone wanted done and would pay a price."

He'd even disguised himself as a gay man one evening so that he could walk unnoticed through a disco and inject a target victim with poison.

At any rate, several agencies joined together to nab Kuklinski: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, and the New Jersey State Police Organized Crime Task Force. Special Agent Dominick Polifrone, who had extensive experience undercover with the mob, was hired to lure Kuklinski into a deal, specifically to get him either to admit to something on tape or to actually engage in the initial stages of a premeditated act of murder. He took on the name Michael Dominick Provenzano, or just "Dom."

It took over a year and a half to connect with Kuklinski, but he was ready. As Dom, he promised Kuklinski a big score on cocaine and an arms deal, and to his surprise, Kuklinski asked if he could score any cyanide. That indicated that he was certainly up to something but had no other supplier. He and Dom called each other from pay phones, using pagers to initiate contact, and met from time to time at the Vince Lombardi truck stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.

To everyone's surprise, Kuklinski revealed quite a bit to this man he barely knew, which meant that either he was not as careful as his reputation indicated or he was planning to kill the federal agent. He bragged about his cyanide methods and even talked about the man he'd frozen. He didn't name names but the details he gave out matched those of the victims attributed to him. "You spray it on someone's face," he said about the cyanide, "and they go to sleep."

His confessions, captured on tape, were a gold mine. They also made it clear that he needed cyanide as soon as he could get it to take care of another "problem"—which indicated that he was planning another murder.

Eventually Dom asked Kuklinski for help killing a "rich Jewish kid" who would bring a lot of cash for several packages of cocaine. The plan was to poison his egg sandwich with the "cyanide" (in actuality, it was quinine) that Dom brought, and they would split the money.

The day arrived---December 17, 1986---and Kuklinski claimed he had a van all prepared for the hit. He took the sandwiches that Dom had bought and said that he'd be back. However, he did not return and another officer soon spotted him back at his house. The task force believed that Dom's life was now in danger, so they moved quickly to make an arrest.

Kuklinski's wife, Barbara, was ill that morning, so he urged her to get into the car with him so he could take her to get checked out. In many ways, that proved to be a lucky break for the Feds because she became a point of leverage.

Although Kuklinski had beaten her up and threatened her life on several occasions, his family was sacred to him. Even the idea that the police had Barbara in custody and intended to charge her with possession of a gun (because a handgun was found in the car), he was enraged. He demanded they let her go and insisted that she knew nothing of his deals. Yet he'd have to give them something in return, which he ended up doing after his trial.

Because Kuklinski had actually applied the quinine to the sandwiches, it would be easy to use that to show at trial his intent to commit murder. He was charged with the five murder charges, and for these he faced two separate trials.

The Trial

On January 25, 1988, Kuklinski's trial for the murders of Daniel Deppner and Gary Smith began. The prosecution team, Bob Carroll and Charles Waldon, said they would seek the death penalty. Yet the case was circumstantial, since no witnesses came forward to say that they'd actually seen Kuklinski commit a murder. However, they did have a few aces up their sleeves.

Rich Patterson, a man who had almost married one of the Iceman's daughters, admitted that he'd once unknowingly helped Kuklinski transport a corpse to a place near where they all went horseback riding on occasion. The man had been killed in his apartment one weekend early in 1983 while he was away. The likely victim was Daniel Deppner. (With this information, detectives searched beneath the cleaned carpet for blood and found it.)

The witness also said that he'd seen Tupperware containers in the apartment after that weekend that were consistent with those he'd seen in Kuklinski's home, which could mean that Kuklinski had brought food there, and that Kuklinski himself had scrubbed away the blood on the carpet.

The prosecution also called Barbara Deppner to the stand to tell what she knew. She was clearly afraid of the defendant. She knew about the two victims being hidden in hotels, and she recalled her ex-husband telling her that Kuklinski intended to kill Smith. Danny also described the events afterward. Her live-in companion and the former foreman of the car-theft ring, Percy House, testified that Kuklinski had admitted to both murders.

Defense Attorney, Neal M. Frank, tried to discredit this witness, but Kuklinski used his finger to point an imaginary gun at the man, and that's all the jury needed to give the witness credibility.

Then Agent Polifrone took the stand and described his many encounters with Kuklinski. Parts of the tapes were played for the jury, particularly the description of how to use cyanide in food. There was also a part in which he talked about how long it took one of his victims to die, and how he needed more to take care of a couple of "rats."

Frank claimed that Kuklinski's statements to Polifrone were just braggadocio. He'd been trying to impress the guy. They also pointed out that an autopsy had shown no indication of cyanide in the two allegedly poisoned victims.

However, the prosecutor hired New York medical examiner Michael Baden, who explained that cyanide degrades in a body into the natural elements of carbon and nitrogen. After a few days, there's no detectable trace of it, not even the odor. However, the fact that it was used shows up in the lividity---pinkish spots on the skin that indicate oxygen starvation. This was consistent with photos of both corpses.

Along with the testimony of pathologist Geetha Natarajan, who indicated the ligature marks consistent with strangulation, the jury was convinced. It took them four hours to decide. On May 25, 1998, they found Richard Kuklinski guilty.

However, he did not get the death penalty, due to the absence of eyewitness testimony that could definitively put the murders directly in his hands.

As a bargaining tool for the sentencing and to save the expense of a second trial for the murders of Masgay, Hoffman, and Malliband, the DA said that they would drop charges against Barbara Kuklinski and one of their children (a drug charge) if Kuklinski confessed. He did so in the cases of Malliband and Masgay, and then agreed to show them where he'd last seen Hoffman, but while he indicated where he placed the drum containing the body, he couldn't take it any further. He claimed he had no idea who had removed it.

Kuklinski got two life sentences, each of which required that he serve a minimum of thirty years. The same for Malliband and Masgay. That meant that Kuklinski would be 111 years old before he could be considered for parole.

He was taken to Trenton State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey, the same place where his brother is serving a life sentence for murder.

For Kuklinski, a prison sentence was much worse than death, but he continued to keep his notoriety alive, which gave him some satisfaction.

The Devil Himself

In 1991, HBO's America Undercover decided to do a documentary on the Iceman. They went to the prison and filmed him as he discussed the kinds of murders he would do. He told the story dispassionately and without apology. The only time he broke was when the subject of his family was raised. He admitted he had a weakness. He had loved his wife and three children.

What he dislikes is having his routine ordered for him, where others tell him what to do and he has to comply. He makes no friends in prison, and wants none. According to Anthony Bruno's book, family killer John List had once approached him, but Kuklinski had nothing but contempt for someone who would harm his own family.

Then he cooperated with Bruno for the book, The Iceman, and in 2001, HBO brought out yet a second documentary about him, The Iceman Tapes: Conversations With a Killer. In this he discussed a few more crimes, including a 1980 hit on a crooked cop in Saddle River, New Jersey, and a special Christmas Eve surprise for Bruno Lattini, who owed him $1600.

He talked about how this debt had gotten under his skin, so he just left home that evening after everyone was in bed, went into Manhattan, and found Lattini in his snow-covered car. The man claimed he didn't have the money, so Kuklinski shot him right there in the car. The blast blinded him and it was so loud that he couldn't hear anything else for a few minutes. However, he found a wad of rolled-up bills in the dead man's pocket. The next day the newspapers indicated that it was a mob hit.

Yet how does a man who kills his cohorts, traps business partners in fatal deals, and murders strangers merely to experiment manage to have a real family life? How is it possible to have no feelings in one area and such strong ones in another?

Kuklinski himself has offered an explanation. He grew up hating his father for the inexplicable abuse and humiliation he suffered at the man's hands. To endure being beaten, he distanced himself and thought about other things. He points to his violent brother as proof that such an upbringing warps children.

What he says about his emotional distancing is consistent with the stories told by people who develop dissociative identity disorder, in which they have more than a single personality existing in the same body. Each personality type can manage some specific life arena and the dissociation typically occurs under stress, as it did during the childhood abuse.

While Kuklinski does not exhibit multiple personalities, his wife did see him as a man with two distinct sides: the Good Richard and the Bad Richard. These were defined by his moods and behavior. If he were in a good mood, he could be loving, generous and protective. However, the black mood meant such things as beating her up, threatening her, chasing her in a car, and even beating up on himself when he couldn't get to her. There was no way to predict when the Bad Richard would emerge, and no way to know what he might do.

What this may mean is that Kuklinski had learned to compartmentalize: In other words, he could turn his feelings on and off when it suited him, and he could completely separate certain of his behaviors from others. The killings were business. His home life was another matter altogether.

In fact, many people can do this but not many take it to such a pathological extreme. Kuklinski clearly had stored up enough anger from childhood to act out against others, but as an adult he was also able to replace the home life that he'd had with something different. Even so, there were still times when he unwittingly recreated his father, and that makes for a man with some serious inner turmoil. His cool façade doesn't hide the truth that he's not as controlled as he may want to believe. Killing outside the family may have kept him functional within the family.

But that's an analysis from a distance. Let's see what the author who actually spoke to him has to say about the experience.

The Iceman's Persona

Crime writer Anthony Bruno, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, says that writing The Iceman changed his life. It was the first time that a "character" wanted to know how he was being portrayed. Bruno had to be careful about what he said.

He was invited to write the book as a spin-off to the original HBO documentary from America Undercover, The Iceman Confesses. He spent two years working on it, using interviews with both Kuklinski and his wife, letters from Kuklinski, a psychological report, and a thorough review of the public records on the Kuklinski investigation, arrest and trial. He agreed to talk about his experience:

"He wouldn't talk to me for the longest time as the book was being written," Bruno says about Kuklinski. "I wrote to ask if he'd speak to me and at first he ignored me. In fact, I was finished with the first draft of the book before he finally talked with me. He talked with the HBO people, but not to me.

"When I first saw him on film, I was mesmerized. His manner is so deceivingly welcoming…not glad-handing, but he's got such a way about him that I could see how he could con so many people into believing that he would get them whatever goods he was selling at the time. It was always a scam; there never were any goods. He'd end up killing the person for the money. He's a natural actor. There's something very winning about his personality. That's what struck me most about him. His external attributes are so in contrast to his manner, and yet there's an overtly scary side to him.

"One of the constant warnings I heard before I went to visit him at the prison was to look out for 'the shark look.' That's when the eyes roll back and his face freezes for a split second. In a five-hour interview, I saw it twice. At one point, I brought up the subject of one of his daughters, and that set it off. The other instance was a reference to a newspaper clipping that he'd sent me, with a post-it note. He'd put random thoughts in these notes, like a gun caliber or a place. Never a name or date. So he'd written down a couple of restaurants, a room number, and a pastry shop. I wanted to know what it meant, so I read them off and when I got to the pastry shop, I got the look again. What I did was just back off and go to another topic. It's quick but it sets you back on your heels.

"When I first visited him, I interviewed him for five hours, and the first half was terrible. I had the tape recorder running and I could see that he was paying more attention to the tape than to me. His answers were clipped and unresponsive. After about two hours, I said, 'We're not really getting anywhere, so I'm just going to pack up and go.' As soon as the tape recorder was back in my briefcase, he started talking. I pulled out a yellow pad and started scribbling notes, and I think he liked the control. The more he talked, the more I scribbled, and that's when he started telling me lots of things.

"An FBI profiler thought that Kuklinski was obviously a serial killer, but I disagree. He had no psychosexual motivation. It was all motivated by profit. He might kill three times in a month and then lay low for a few years. Serial killers usually go through escalation, where they feel compelled to kill more frequently. They become more excited and disorganized. Ted Bundy is a good example of that.

"I think to call Kuklinski a mass murderer might be more accurate, but being profit-motivated was the key. Most of his murders were scams to make money, but he was also associated with Roy DeMeo, a capo on the Gambino crime family, and in the second interview that he did with HBO he admitted to mob hits.

"My hunch on his connection with Prongay ["Mister Softee"] is that Prongay was the brains. He was the mad scientist who came up with all the ideas, like freezing bodies and using cyanide as a spray. Not that Kuklinski is stupid by any means. But I think he lost his source for inventive methods when he killed Prongay. It was hard getting information about Prongay because there were open murders associated with him. Kuklinski admitted to killing him.

"Kuklinski's great quote to me was 'I'm not the Iceman, I'm the Nice Man'---when he wanted you to think he was a good family man from Bergen County. But by the same token, if you listen to him long enough, he'll tell you fantastic things to pump up his other image of himself. He once sent me a long letter about being part of the team that had abducted and killed Jimmy Hoffa. When I checked into the details of the letter, he was all wrong.

"About the possibility that they'd hidden a body in the freezer in the Mister Softee truck, the other police theory was that there was a drainage compartment in the floor of the garage where the truck was stored which was very cool, so they were able to keep him in a partially frozen state in that drain. When I asked Kuklinski about whether it could have been in the ice cream truck, he gave me this acknowledging smile. I'm hesitant to say that he admitted to it, but he gave me that impression.

"As for being so open with Dominick Polifrone, the undercover cop who went after him, apparently Kuklinski did this with others that he knew he was going to kill. He would bring them into his confidence and tell them far too much, always in the back of his mind thinking, 'It doesn't matter, because I'm going to kill him. He's dead.' The insidious thing is that he layered all these scams. He told you he could get you something and string you out, and he'd have you call me as his next target, to get you to vouch for him. And everyone always said good things about him because they wanted what he was promising, so it seemed like he was on the up-and-up. Then the fateful day would come when he'd kill you. He'd collect his profits and sit back for a while.

"I did go to most of the crime scenes. I went to see the motel room where Gary Smith had been left under the mattress. Room 31. It was pretty creepy to imagine that three people had rented that room from the time of the murder to the time when the body was discovered.

"I talked with Barbara Kuklinski often. She'd call me every week or so when I was writing the book. She talked pretty extensively about the abuse she lived with. I never talked with Kuklinski about this directly, because it was her story. I wanted to keep it pure. She did say, 'Look at this nose. Has this nose been broken more than once?' She was right. And she'd lost a child; thanks to a beating he'd given her.

"One thing that upsets people most is that Richard Kuklinski has a human side. People didn't want to like him. They didn't want to know about his childhood or his tears over his family. People want their monsters black and white.

"Periodically I still hear from him. His is the first Christmas card I get every year.

He's very polite in his letters, and a pretty good artist. Imagine the most gruesome tattoos that you can…that's the kind of art he does. Skulls with confederate caps on, creatures from hell, things like that.

"Judge Kuechenmeister [the presiding judge at Kuklinski's trial] told me that 95% of the time when he lays down a sentence, he sees relief on the convicted person's face, because these people lead disorganized lives and now they know that they're going to be fed, clothed and housed somewhere. Their lives will now have regularity. But that 5% that we might call 'master criminals'---the people who could organize their lives and who are successful as criminals---they're totally blown apart when the control is taken away from them. It's devastating for them.

"I think prison is the most appropriate punishment for him, as opposed to the death penalty. He told me that when he was arrested and they were bringing him back to the courthouse in Bergen County, there were two cops with him. He was in shackles, and he said to one of them, 'Take off the cuffs. Take off the shackles. Let me run and shoot me in the back. Let's get it over with.' For someone as organized as he is, living this life now must be hell for him.

"Yet the other side of that coin is that he's never admitted to a murder that took place after the death penalty was reinstated in New Jersey. He was careful about that. Here's the dichotomy again: He was willing to be killed on the spot yet he doesn't want to face the death penalty.

"I was concerned at times writing the book, and the cops warned me there might be people on the street who were connected to him, but I was Kuklinski's chronicler. I was the one who put him between the covers of a hardcover book. He liked the notoriety. He wanted the book to happen. He wanted people to know about him.

"I have no doubt that he still holds information about unsolved murders, and he's clever enough to dole it out slowly, to keep his story alive."

Bruno's book, The Iceman, was published in 1993. His latest nonfiction crime book, The Seekers, is about a bounty hunter who relies as much on his spirituality as his physical skills to bring 'em back alive.


MO: Beat personal enemy to death in fight, age 14; adult career criminal and hit man; also killed for leasure and revenge

DISPOSITION: Consecutive life terms with 60-year minimum on each of

I met this guy on a couple of occasions years ago....
had no clue he was a killer....



Kuklinski parents

Kuklinski with wife and daughters

Kuklinski and your daughters

Kuklinski and wife

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Carmine Galante death



what made this guy so different is not the fact he was paid to kill people it was the fact he liked it and was good at it not to mention he did a lot of his killings for free just because he enjoyed it ........


silent ghost
what made this guy so different is not the fact he was paid to kill people it was the fact he liked it and was good at it not to mention he did a lot of his killings for free just because he enjoyed it ........
and that's what made him an aswome killer.
is there such a thing as an awesome killer? if not,there is now and hes it!


well a lot of the mulberry st. boys were good killers this one was extraordinary......
another would be james conway he was a bad ass also....
What astounds me is how he was able to turn off his emotions during his killings but then obviously adored his family. (Wife and kids). I'm not saying he was a great hubby/father but there's not doubt that he loved them.


silent ghost
What astounds me is how he was able to turn off his emotions during his killings but then obviously adored his family. (Wife and kids). I'm not saying he was a great hubby/father but there's not doubt that he loved them.
he was and wasn't a good hubby/father. he has beaten his then wife around and even broke her nose from time to time. told one of his daughters,"id have to kill you and your siblings,if I were to have killed your mother while in a fit of rage".
nice thing to say to a kid,hu?


silent ghost
he had a friend that was named George. he called him "georgey boy" well,georgey boy pissed rich off by saying that hed do his family in to get to him. it was way of holding something over Richard,and Richard knew it and hated the fact George used Richards family in that way. well,richard got pissed,told George he was going to put an end to it,and put an end to it he did. he killed George right then and there in the van. George was 6ft300lbs.after Richard killed him,he had to chain saw his ass to put in a 55gal drum. they were friends....
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