Archive for July 6

6 July 1999 – Gary M Heidnik

Posted in Death penalty, Lethal injection with tags , , , on July 6 by Old Sparky

Gary M HeidnikEver wondered who inspired the character ‘Buffalo Bill’ in ‘Silence of the Lambs’?

Meet Gary Michael Heidnik – a notorious American criminal who kidnapped and murdered women during a reign of terror in the late 1970s and ‘80s.

Imprisoning several women at a time in a makeshift dungeon in the basement of his Philadelphia home he would subject them to torture, sexual assault and systematic abuse.

They would be beaten regularly and forced to have sex with each other and Heidnik depending on his mood. If anyone disobeyed his orders they would be handcuffed to a pipe for days on end or thrown into a deep pit dug in the floor.


Two of the women eventually died, while incarcerated, through mistreatment and starvation. The first, Sandra Lindsay he cut up with a chainsaw, before mincing parts of her body in a food processor and force-feeding them to the other women.

The second, Deborah Dudley was wrapped in polythene and placed in the freezer.

Over time one of the women, Josefina, built up her captor’s trust and eventually convinced him to let her out on the promise that she would bring back another ‘wife’ for his collection. He agreed and dropped her off near her boyfriend’s apartment where she was quickly able to call the police.


Heidnik was arrested, the surviving victims released and the gruesome remains of Sandra and Deborah’s bodies discovered at the house.

Although he tried to commit suicide on several occasions before the sentence of death could be carried out, he failed and was executed by lethal injection just before 10:30pm on 6 July 1999, aged 55.

Thomas Harris borrowed Heidnik’s method of keeping his captives in a hole in his basement for the character ‘Buffalo Bill’ in his novel ‘Silence of the Lambs‘.

A;so on this day

6 July 1535 – Sir Thomas More

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