He was 6 feet 5 inches tall, 300 pounds, mostly muscle, and did not have a conscience to speak of. He committed his first murder at 13, avenging several beatings he had suffered from a teenage bully named Charley Lane. He surprised Lane on the sidewalk one day and beat him to death with a wood club, then knocked out all his teeth, cut off his fingers, and dumped him over a South Jersey bridge. He then stalked and beat the rest of Lane’s gang within an inch of their lives, bludgeoning one of them in the groin until his ruptured testicles were shredded by his shattered pelvis.
Kuklinski’s extremely short, raging temper roused the attention of the DeCavalcante family of Newark, who hired him as a hit man. While working odd jobs for the family, he devoted his leisure time to stalking and killing random civilians, always grown men, in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. His methods always changed, and thus the police could never draw a bead on him. He used guns, knives, his bare hands (“for the exercise”), cyanide (his favorite), strangulation, Molotov cocktails – anything that took his fancy as lethal. These people he killed in Hell’s Kitchen were total strangers to him, most of them street-walking bums not particularly missed by anyone. The police assumed they were killing each other. Kuklinski considered it perfecting his trade, since he was now working in the big leagues.
He was first pistol whipped, then hired, by an underboss of the Gambino family, Roy DeMeo, who ordered to kill a random man walking by with his dog. Kuklinski did so without a second’s pause, shooting him in the head and kicking the dog’s teeth in when it snarled at him. DeMeo hired him on the spot and Kuklinski worked for the Gambino family for 30 years. He was finally caught by an undercover operation jointly led by the NJ State Police and the ATF. At the time of his incarceration, he claimed to have killed 200 people. Amazingly, the State of New Jersey did not sentence him to death on five counts of murder in the first degree, and even allowed the possibility of parole, albeit at the age of 110 (later adding 30 more years). He died in prison from natural causes on March 5th, 2006, at the age of 70.