Episode 185: Richard Kuklinski: The Maffia’s Iceman

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the life of the notorious Iceman, the contract killer and psychopath named Richard Kuklinski. The Iceman got his name because he experimented with freezing the bodies in industrial freezers before disposing of them in order to make it hard to determine how long the body had been dead for (a trick he learned from another hit man named “Mr. Softee”). Though he was arrested for five murders and later confessed to a sixth in court, law enforcement range his murders somewhere between 100 and a staggering 300!

Kuklinski was born in Jersey City, New Jersey to an abusive father. And I mean abusive! In fact, Richard’s older brother Florian was beaten to death by his father, and it was ruled an accident from falling down the stairs. The whole family seemed permanently scarred by this beast of a father, and another brother named Joseph went on to rape and murder a 12 year old.

This violent household led to a violent child. When he was young, Kuklinski would torture and kill cats, and allegedly, when he was only 14 he killed his first man, removed identifying markers, and hid the body where it was never found. From there, he started doing petty crimes and eventually tried to go straight. He got a job in a film lab, processing films for movie theaters. However, he met members of the Gambino Crime Family here, and he started to make a lot of side money by bootlegging pornos and Disney films and selling them on the streets. This was the start of a career of carjacking, robbery, and other mob crimes that culminated in him being the mob’s most notorious hit man.

The Iceman was said to have worked for seven different crime families, earning their trust when Roy DeMeo beat him with a pistol. The Iceman never flinched or complained, and they became close associates. Kuklinski worked in the Gemini Lounge where a “murder factory” was happening upstairs. Eventually, the Iceman was caught after he started to make mistakes.

Who ratted on him and got him busted by the feds? How long of a jail sentence did he serve? What was the story of his wife Barbara and the several murder attempts he made on her? Why would a woman stay with such a monster, and how did she and their daughter try to kill him in return once? How did the Iceman finally die, and what did his wife have to do with it? Listen, laugh, learn.

The Iceman Lieth: https://swallowingthecamel.me/2013/07/17/the-iceman-lieth/

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