Richard Kuklinski

Richard Leonard Kuklinski (1935-2006),  was a hired hit man who contracted for mostly “mafia”-related murders.   Richard’s nickname came to be “Iceman,” in reference to his refrigeration of murdered victims.  [The bodies were frozen soon after death, then kept refrigerated for up to a year, then placed in some remote location so that they would have time to defrost and decompose before someone found them; this method was only discovered after a body was found much sooner than expected and some of the tissues were still frozen at a time and place where it could not have happened naturally.]  Richard Kuklinski is often referred to as a serial killer, I do not classify him as such.  Most of the motivation of killing for Kuklinski was material.  There are aspects to some of his crimes, however, that are puzzling.  Even though torture and pain were sometimes requested by the persons who hired him in relation to targets, Kuklinski seemed to take a little too much pleasure and pride in coming up with bizarre and sadistic forms of torture and death.  Also, when hearing the stories from his wife, additional evidence is submitted for the argument of him being a sadist.  So, then the motive for his murders tends to become murky.  Did he, in fact, do it for the money as he says? And then he just took pride in his work? Or was he just being paid to be a sadist who killed people for kicks? This man was obviously intelligent and capable, yet somehow he thought that the only thing he could do to support his family was kill people for money (so he says).  Was it just cognitive dissonance?  Did he really believe that or was he living in some sort of self-delusion? In an interview, Kuklinski was asked, Do you consider yourself an assassin? And Kuklinski answered:  “Assassin, oooh, sounds so exotic.  No, I was just a murderer.”  Kuklinski changed MOs like he changed clothes.  He had no particular preference and often just killed in the manner and by the weapon which he was told to do so.  There was no discernible pattern, no ritual, no true signature.   Kuklinski reminds me of H. H. Holmes (Herman Mudgett) in so much of his methods and pathology.  And so does the killer of the girls at Gilgo, except there is no sign of the sadism such as that involved in Kuklinski and Holmes’ actions and murders (that I know of).  What I do see is that I really do not think the motive is the same as the needs that drive serial killers.  I truly think with the LISK (as I define him) had different motives and does not consider himself a serial killer.  I really do not think that officials will ever catch this guy by trying to trail, track, or trap him with the “normal” serial killer trappings.

But…then again maybe I am overthinking it.  Maybe he really is just as simple an offender as others think and I am just giving him way too much credit? Maybe where I am seeing skill and finesse, intelligence and forethought, is really just pure luck? Maybe he is really just a simple serial killer, with an iq of 80 something, and the only reason he hasn’t gotten caught has nothing to do with his abilities, but with happenstance–like with Gary Ridgway, whose iq of 80 something did not stop him from not being caught for 20 years.


4 thoughts on “Richard Kuklinski

  1. Pingback: Serial Killer / Hitman – Richard Kuklinski (The Iceman) – Documentary | Karma's little spanker

  2. Considering the ‘times’ Kuklinskis murders took place, meaning the lack of advances in forensics mixed with an extremely high murder rate, luck may have played a role.

    He was truly ‘one of a kind’, i very much agree. He did however fit the classic childhood background and behaviors that seems to be conducive to creating this type of person. Like so many other killers, he lacked the “fear” response that most people have. Able to stay completely calm and composed while committing horrendous acts, or when faced with real danger directed at himself…chilling

    • You could argue that point, linda, but I really don’t see anything about what Kuklinski did as being luck or accidental, except for his capture. He was a killing machine, and took pleasure and pride in his work. He was constantly evolving, changing methodology, changing MO. There was no one ritualistic action that carried through, except for the sheer pleasure and pride he took in his systematic destruction of other human beings. As far as his background, I am pretty sure that there was probably even more abuse than what Kuklinski told about. There usually is. And though his background does mirror certain aspects of other killers, again, he does not show the typical response/behavior paradigm most often represented which is: Daddy is the abuser, mommy didnt protect me, I hate mommy, I will kill women who take the place of mommy. To my knowledge, Kuklinski never killed any women at all for any reason. But…he may have gotten this out of his system with his sadistic treatment of his wife, while simultaneously also obtaining pleasure and rage release with the other killings. What you have to remember is that it is not really that they dont have fear, it is that they dont have ANYTHING. People who exhibit behaviors such as Kuklinski (e.g. obvious anti-social, sadistic tendencies; repetitive homicidal tendencies) are notorious for having a very low arousal threshold. This means that most things provoke no reaction or feeling, so they seek out and perform behaviors and situations that are extreme, harmful, often sadistic or masochistic, just to be able to feel something at all. I would imagine that this is borne out of a survival instinct, such as numbing in PTSD, or it may be the very same thing as numbing in PTSD, just more severe–in order to deal with the profound abuses they suffer.

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