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10 of the Most Gruesome Halloween Murders Ever

 Horror and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but sometimes, fantasy has the terrifying tendency of spilling into reality. From senseless slayings to cold, calculated murders, All Hallow’s Eve rightly has a reputation for being deadly. Here are 10 of the most gruesome murders known to have taken place on Halloween:
 
1. Timothy O’Bryan  
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Eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan returned to his Houston home after spending the night trick-or-treating. His father, Ronald, gave him a Pixy Stix candy upon his return. Timothy began vomiting almost immediately after, and he died on the way to the hospital. Ronald changed his alibi multiple times after being questioned by the police, he was found to have covered the candy that he gave his son in cyanide. The aim was to murder him in order to cash out on a life insurance policy that he had taken out on him.

2. Leslie Ann Mazzara and Adriane Insogna

Leslie Mazzara, Adriane Insogna and their friend Lauren Meanza were handing out candy to trick-or-treaters at their California home. They went to bed at around 11 pm. Meanza awoke to screams from the upstairs bedrooms, so she promptly ran out of the house and sped away in her car. Mazzara and Insogna were both found stabbed to death. They were murdered by Eric Matthew Copple, who confessed to the murders, but never said what his motive was. He’s currently in jail serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

3. Several members of Devon Griffin’s family

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After sleeping out the previous night and attending church, 16-year-old Devon Griffin returned to his Michigan home to play video games. Noticing that everything in the house seemed too quiet, he went to check on his family members. He found his stepfather in bed, covered in blood. The police were promptly on the scene, and discovered another two bodies – one was Griffin’s mother, and the other was Griffin’s brother. His stepfather had been shot five times, his brother had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer, and his mother had been raped and shot. The perpetrator was Griffin’s stepbrother, William Liske. He committed suicide in his jail cell in 2015 while serving three consecutive life sentences.

4. The Toolbox Killers’ last murder

Shirley Ledford was picked up by two men in a van as she hitchhiked home from a Halloween party. Little did she know that she had been picked up by the Toolbox Killers, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris. They were famous for pickup up female hitchhikers before proceeding to torture them to death with toolbox tools. They also liked to take pictures of their victims as they were murdering them. Ledford was their fifth and final victim – they dumped her body on a stranger’s lawn. A friend of theirs turned them into the authorities. Bittaker is still on death row to this day, and Norris was given 45 years to life.

5. Martha Moxley

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Martha Moxley was just 15 years old when she was found dead in the backyard of a Connecticut home on All Saints’ Day. She had attended a Halloween party in the house before being beaten to death with a golf club. It was a whole 25 years before Michael Skakel was convicted of the murder. He was also just 15 years old at the time he committed the crime. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, however, his conviction was vacated by the Connecticut Supreme Court in May 2018.

6. Yoshihiro Hattori

Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori went out to a party in New Orleans on Halloween night. He got lost on his way there, not able to find the correct house he was supposed to go to. After resigning himself to not being able to find it, he turned toward his car when the door he had knocked on opened. Hattori was promptly shot with a revolver. The assailant, Rodney Peairs, claimed self-defense, thinking that Hattori had criminal intent toward him or his home. Peairs was charged with manslaughter but was found not guilty by a jury after invoking the “castle doctrine” – a legal right which allows Americans to use lethal force to protect their homes.

7. Peter Fabiano

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Peter and Betty Fabiano were in bed on Halloween night when they were awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of their front doorbell. Peter got up to answer it, so he went downstairs and brought candy to the door. As he opened the door, he was promptly shot in the chest by a woman who concealed her weapon with a paper bag. The police eventually arrested a woman named Joan Rabel for the murder. She reportedly had had a sexual relationship with Betty. She had convinced another woman by the name of Goldyne Pizer into killing Peter. Both of them received forty-five years to life in prison.

8. Karl Jackson 

It’s far from uncommon for youths to throw an egg or two during Halloween, but for an unlucky 21-year-old, the harmless prank perpetrated by someone else proved deadly. Karl Jackson’s car was hit by eggs, so he got out of it to yell at the pranksters to stop. One of the teenagers that were throwing the eggs pulled out a gun and shot Jackson in the head. Curtis Sterling was just 17 years old when he was charged with second-degree murder. He is serving 20 years in prison. Jackson’s mother mails her son’s shooter a card that reads: “I’m glad you’re still there” every single Halloween.

9. Sister Tadea Benz

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The lifeless, naked body of Sister Tadea Benz was found on Halloween night in the convent where she lived. She was discovered after her fellow nuns noticed that a window was broken. They immediately called the police. Benz’s clothing, together with a knife, was found under her bed. The autopsy on her body revealed that she had been stabbed, strangled and raped. Johnny Frank Garrett, who lived across the street from the convent, was soon arrested by police – an eyewitness had seen him running out of the convent the same evening of the murder. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992, but many believe another man, Leoncio Perez Rueda, to be the real perpetrator. DNA evidence linked him to the crime many years later in 2004.

10. Ronald Sisman and Elizabeth Platzman

This horrifying Halloween murder actually remains unsolved. Photographer Ronald Sisman and Smith College student Elizabeth Platzman were brutally beaten before being shot dead in their Manhattan apartment. Although their apartment was ransacked, nothing seemed to have been stolen.

 

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Additional images by Deposit Photos

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