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Crime News Halloween

5 Real-Life Horrors: True Crimes That Occurred On Halloween

From a a murderous Texas father to the notorious East Coast Rapist, here are some times where the holiday's scares were way too real.

By Ethan Harfenist

The days leading up to and including Halloween (and, if you’re in New Jersey, Mischief Night) are generally considered to be the spookiest of the year. Many Americans deck their houses out in gruesome decorations and don detailed costumes to work, parties and outside on their way to both, creating a festive yet eerie atmosphere in towns and cities across the country.

But while most revelers are satisfied with watching slasher flicks or dressing up as criminals and killers, some people actually realize their immoral ambitions during this season and ruin what’s supposed to be a night of make-believe with all-too-real actions: Take, for instance, separate shootings that occurred this weekend in California and Indiana, the latter of which resulted in the death of a man in Indianapolis.

Below, we’ll delve into some of the most heinous crimes committed on and around Halloween over the past few decades.

The ‘Candyman’

This tragic crime unfolded during Halloween in 1974, but it continues to haunt residents of Houston, Texas, and beyond to this day.

Ronald O’Bryan gave out pixie sticks to two of his kids, as well as three others, as Halloween treats, according to. But little did they know, those classic paper tubes of colored sugar contained an extra ingredient that would wind up killing one of O’Bryan’s children.

“[Ronald O’Bryan] said the boy responded after he ate some of it that it was very bitter and didn’t taste right,” Harold Nassif, the former Pasadena Detective Sergeant who investigated the case, told ABC13 on Saturday.

The candies were spiked with cyanide, and O’Bryan’s son Timothy was poisoned to death an hour after ingesting one. Fortunately, none of the other kids had eaten theirs.

Initially, O’Bryan feigned sad confusion over his boy’s death, according to the outlet. But after authorities found out he had taken out life insurance policies on his kids, as well as an adding machine that had crunched numbers identical the amount he was set to collect, he was swiftly arrested, charged and eventually sentenced to death.

Murder of Ronald Sisman and Elizabeth Platzman

Photographer Ronald Sisman, 39, and Elizabeth Platzman, a 20-year-old student at Smith College in Massachusetts, were beaten to death in their Manhattan apartment on Halloween night in 1981.

Police at the time alleged that the murders were tied to robbery, and believed that Sisman may have known the killer since there appeared to be no signs of any forced entry, according to a New York Times report at the time.

There were allegations at one point that David Berkowitz, popularly known as “Son of Sam,” may have known something about them, the case remains unsolved to this day.

East Coast Rapist

Connecticut resident Aaron H. Thomas (pictured above), known as the “East Coast Rapist,” was suspected of a slew of rapes throughout his life, and on authorities’ radar for roughly 14 years. Among his most notorious crimes was an incident on Halloween night 2009 that involved a trio of rapes and abductions.

“Assaults in the East Coast Rapist investigation spanned more than 400 miles in 12 incidences, presenting major obstacles for investigators,” Ronald Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division at FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a press release at the time of his capture in 2011. “But this capture is an excellent example of a coordinated law enforcement effort tying together 14 years of hard work by investigators who never gave up.”

Thomas was apprehended in New Haven, Conn. in March 2011, and he was eventually indicted on 54 charges two years later, according to NBC News. Included in those were two counts of rape and three counts of abduction in connection to a case in Prince William County, Va., in which Thomas attacked three teenagers that were out trick or treating. He then forcibly took them to a wooded area and violently raped two of them, both aged 17.

He was sentenced to three life terms in prison for his crimes, according to WJLA in Washington, DC.

The All Too Real Halloween ‘Prank’

Halloween 2010 spelled tragedy for a family in Martin, Ohio, a small community less than 20 miles outside of Toledo.

Devon Griffin, 16, arrived home after attending church to a scene of carnage fit for a Halloween thriller: The slain bodies of three of his family members. Although he managed to call his aunt, who then phoned authorities about the incident, Griffin told police in Ottawa County that he thought the bodies were part of an elaborate prank being pulled for the holiday, CBS News reported at the time.

William Liske Jr. was arrested in connection to the killings, which involved both of his parents and another family member. He reportedly had a history of suffering from mental illness prior to his capture, but was eventually sentenced to life in prison over the horrific Halloween murders, the Toledo Blade reported in September 2011.

[Photo Credit: Getty]

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