New Jersey’s “Iceman:” guilty of 5 or 200 murders?

Mae Gordon, The Delphi Staff

Richard Kuklinski, aka the “Iceman,” was a mass murder in New Jersey.

Kuklinski was convicted of 5 murders, but he was later proved responsible for over 200 deaths. Having survived a violent past, this killer would later practice his own violent ways, bringing death to New Jersey and New York.

Richard Kuklinski was born in April, 1935 to a family of 5. His mother, Anne McNally, was a devout Catholic while his father, Stanley Kuklinski, was an aggressive alcoholic who often lashed out against his family members. The violence seen in his father is believed to be the cause of Richard’s gruesome lifestyle.

When Richard was young, he started his life of murder by killing cats. At the age of 14, he killed a fellow student, a local bully, out of pure hatred. Kuklinski beat the bully to death and disposed the body by removing any identifying marks, like finger tips and birth marks. In the eighth grade, Kulinski dropped out of school and continued to kill those who reminded him of his father. It seemed that Kuklinski had killed people out of pure hatred; he said in an interview that killing people was a way of replacing his loveless heart with “hatred”.

At the age of 18, Kuklinski gained respect from the Mafia, specifically the Genovese family, the DeCavalcante family, and the Gambino family, by killing a random person on a New York sidewalk. With the Mafia’s support, Kunlinski committed robberies, hijackings, and sold pornographic films. Although he committed other chilling crimes, he was best known as a hitman. His gang name, “Iceman,” came from the gruesome way he disposed of his victims’ bodies. Kuklinski would first remove identifying features like fingertips and teeth. Next, he would freeze the body to conceal the time of death. He then dumped the bodies down mine shafts or off bridges into rivers.

Kuklinski was convicted of five murders: George Malliband, Louis Masgy, Gary Smith, Daniel Deppner, and later, Paul Hoffman. While in prison, Kuklinski did not spend his time alone. Reporters, psychiatrists, and journalists made daily visits to gather information about his bizarre life. These visits allowed Kuklinski  the opportunity to brag about his kill tally of 100 to 200 people.

Until his death at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey on March 5, 2006, Kuklinski continued to gain respect and fame due to his criminal activities in prison.