31 May 1984 – Ronald Clark O’Bryan
‘Too many sweets’ll kill ya,’ especially if your dad’s a money-grabbing maniac. Our filicidal felon of the day is Ronald C O’Bryan who made the ultimate sacrifice in search of wealth. The Texan was hell-bent on bagging a $20,000 payout, so he wilfully poisoned his own son for financial gain.
I want candy
You may know O’Bryan better as the ‘Candyman’ – the man who singlehandedly ruined Hallowe’en for the Americans. You see he doled out cyanide-steeped sweets and fed some to his son. He then handed them out to trick-or-treaters in the vain hope that it would look like a dodgy batch, aimed at covering his tracks.
Ideally he was actually after $40,000 but his daughter didn’t want a bar of it, but $20,000 was not to be sniffed at.
His son died a painful death provoking suspicion. A neighbour’s son also had a pack of the offending sweets in his hand as he slept – the doctored box having been too hard to get into. That box was to save the little child’s life and provide the necessary ammunition to put O’Bryan away.
Crime never pays
In his final speech, O’Bryan simply stated ‘What is about to transpire in a few moments is wrong.’ But then again, he did the crime knowing that the Texans take a hard line on murders and the sentence may well have been death if he got caught.
In a sinister twist, his parting speech never once acknowledged or even mentioned his eight-year-old son, who he had so keenly sacrificed for financial gain. And just as he’d used drugs to kill his son, so drugs were used on him to the same end.
He died aged 39 and yet his legacy lives on. His crimes spawned the odd sickos who pull copycat crimes in homage to Candyman by handing out poisoned sweets. He is even immortalised in a song by the same name courtesy of Siouxie and the Banshees in their album ‘Tinderbox’. His story, however, bears no relation to the slasher movie of the same name.