The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath

Harper Collins

'He was like a vampire. We believe he killed over sixty people.' - James J. Hunt, Assistant Special Agent , New York DEA 9 July 1990: the DEA makes the gruesome discovery of nine bodies, dismembered, stuffed into cheap suitcases and buried in a secluded bird sanctuary near Gravesend, Brooklyn. It was tommy Pitera's personal cemetery. When John Gotti put out a contract on informer Willie Boy Johnson, Pitera took it - he shot him fourteen times in broad daylight outside his home. Pitera not only murdered for the mob, he took pleasure in killing and did so at whim - the slightest insult could provoke him and he killed friends, associates, anyone who got in his way. A cold-blooded, homicidal maniac with a fascination for the macabre, he had an autopsy table in his basement and regularly dismembered his victims, expertly cutting them into six pieces: the arms, legs, torso and head. Convicted for six murders, he is believed to be responsible for over sixty. Philip Carlo, author of the bestseller the Iceman, reveals the horrendous crimes of drug kingpin and merciless mob killer thomas Pitera, and the New York DEA's three-year battle to bring him to justice.
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Philip Carlo's The Ice Man spent over six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Top Mob Hitman. Devoted Family Man. Doting Father. For thirty years, Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski led a shocking double life, becoming the most notorious professional assassin in American history while happily hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey.

Richard Kuklinski was Sammy the Bull Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano, then head of the Gambino crime family, at Sparks Steakhouse. Mob boss John Gotti hired him to torture and kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, Kuklinski would make his victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with coldhearted intensity and shocking efficiency, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over two hundred men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique.

This trail of murder lasted over thirty years and took Kuklinski all over America and to the far corners of the earth, Brazil, Africa, and Europe. Along the way, he married, had three children, and put them through Catholic school. His daughter's medical condition meant regular stays in children's hospitals, where Kuklinski was remembered, not as a gangster, but as an affectionate father, extremely kind to children. Each Christmas found the Kuklinski home festooned in colorful lights; each summer was a succession of block parties.

His family never suspected a thing.

Richard Kuklinski is now the subject of the major motion picture titled "The Iceman"(2013), starring James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans.


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Harper Collins
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Published on
Apr 22, 2014
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True Crime / General
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