The Iceman
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“The Iceman”
University of Florida
Richard Kuklinski known as the “Iceman” was arrested in 1982 at the age of 47. He was a life long career criminal who has killed so many people he can only estimate his kills at anywhere between 200-250. Professional law enforcement agencies believe he had deffiatly killed more than 100 victims. Richard who latter in his life became increasing outspoken about his brutal killings once said “what I like most was the hunt, the challenge of what the thing was. The killing for me was secondary. I got no rise as such out of it…for the most part. But the figuring it out, the challenge, the stalking and doing it right, successful…that got me excited a lot. The greater the odds against me, the more juice I got out of it” (add citations).

Richard was a huge John Wayne type of a man at 6’5’’ and weighing around 300 pounds. His was legendary for his creativity, versatility, adaptability, brutality, callousness, quick temper, relentlessness, and (oddly enough) his enduring love for his wife and two daughters. Richard was not only a hit man he was an master at the art of killing and deposing of the body. He was often bragged about by the DeCavalcante crime family (who employed him) as a one man army because there was almost nothing he couldn’t take care of.

If he wanted to send people a message you might find his victim on the front page of the paper, and the victim not have an open casket at his/her funeral. On the other hand if Richard wanted someone dead without rising suspicion, the target would die of a heart attack or some other natural cause. Richard has become an expert at chemical based killing wither through swallowing, skin contact, or inhaling. If Richard just wanted someone to just disappear (as those who crossed him often did) the victim would simply vanish as if the earth had opened up and swallowed the victim. If Richard wanted his victims to suffer, he would place them in a cave hanging by there hand leave them their. He would record this slow process of suffering, which typically involved the victim screaming endlessly which attracted rats which would eat them alive (this usually took around 1-3 days).

Richard was a life long student of the student of the art of assassination and was frightenly great at what he did. If a method of killing was a tool, than Richard had a whole garage full, which let him customize every killing to suit his or his clients need perfectly. He often was quoted as saying “There is more than one way to kill a cat” and “Where there is a will, there is a way” (add citation). He methods constantly changed and he was always looking for new methods to put into practice. For a brief period Richard fine tuned his art practicing on bums in the N.Y. area, baffled police officers believe the bums had started killing each other over turf. He would kill with guns, knives, explosives, tire irons, fire, poison, asphyxiation, animals, crossbows, and often with his bare hands which he said he liked to do sometimes “just for the exercise”.(add citation). This lack of identifiable pattern in his offenses was often thought by law enforcement as to why he got away with murdering for so long.

His nick name “Iceman” was given to Richard because he sometimes would freeze his victims bodies for years before thawing them out and leaving them somewhere to be found. This served several purposes. First it confused the date of death and consequently the murder date. Secondly if it were a high profile murder much of the heat (outrage) would have subsided. Third he could wait for another serial killer to gain publicity, then he could copy his/her killing signature and all suspicion would be directed unto the person he framed. However it was actually the main reason he eventually got caught and was imprisoned. Richard downfall was due to three major mistakes that were sloppy, avoidable , and rather uncharacteristic of the professional hit man.

The first was the discovery on December 27, 1982 of a decomposing body of 37 year old Gary Smith who was found under a bed in Room 31 at the York Motel in New Jersey. Gary was involved with Richard and Daniel Deppner in many shady scams and crimes such as narcotics, pornography, arms dealing, money laundering, hijacking, and contract killings. After a depute over money Daniel and Richard decided to kill Gary. Richard feed Gary a cyanide-laced burger, however this process of dying took to longer than Richard had predicted. When Richard grew impatient he grabbed a lamp cord and strangled Gary, leaving visible bruising on his neck which suggested foul play. He left Gary under the Motel bed which people continued to used for a bout a week before noticing a foul smell. According to the forensic pathologist if Richard had waited for Gary to die from the cyanide to kill Gary there would had never been a following investigation.

The second was the discovery of Daniel Deppner’s body on May 14, 1983 found in a wooded area only three miles from a ranch Richard often took his family horse back riding. The body was found in a green garbage bag while the official cause of death was marked as “unknown” pinkish spots on the skin aroused the supicions of investigators. The investigators thought it rather coincidental that known bussness men of Richards kept showing up dead. This was the third death of a businessmen who know to associated with Richard.

Finally the last straw (which would forever turn Richard into the notorious “Iceman”) was when Louis Masgay was found dead near a town park in N.Y. with a bullet in his head. Richard made his critical mistake after freezing the body for two years (like he often did) he, neglected to let the body completely thaw out before dumping it. The county medical examiner found ice crystals in the victims body on a hot summers day which lead to a full pleadged homicide investigation. In the end five unsolved homicides were linked to the “Iceman” due to the fact that he was the last person to see them alive.

Richard was born April 11, 1935 in Jersey City the son of Stanley Kulklinski (Polish immigrant) and Anna McNally (Catholic Irish Immigrant from Dublin). Richard was raised under a strict Catholic upbringing and was ironically a alter boy. He had two brothers, the older brother Florian and the younger brother Joseph. However home life was anything but perfect and Richard was severely abused by both of his parents but really grew an overwhelming hatred for his father. Florian died at a young age due to reportedly falling down the stairs

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Method Of Killing And Old Gary Smith. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from