Iceman Confessions: A Social History Profile of Richard Kuklinski
Reason for Referral:
Richard Kuklinski was referred because of his involvement in multiple murders. A member of Newark's DeCavalcante crime family and New York City's Five Families whose job was that of a hitman, Kuklinski is believed to have murdered upwards of 100 people. According to his self-reports, Kuklinski began murdering people at the age of 13. Kuklinski was convicted of five murders in 1988, which resulted in consecutive life sentences. In 2003, he pleaded guilty to an additional murder.
Richard Kuklinski was born April 11, 1935 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was born to Stanley Kuklinski and Anna McNally Kuklinksi. Stanley Kuklinski, an abusive alcoholic who worked as a brakeman for the railroad. Stanleybeat his children and his wife, eventually causing the death of his oldest son, Florian. His mother Anna McNally Kuklinksi, was the victim of tremendous domestic violence. While she was a victim, she was also a perpetrator; she helped her husband hide the cause of death of their son Florian, after he murdered him, by telling the police that Florian had fallen down the stairs. She also beat her children with broomsticks. Kuklinski was one of four children. Three of the four siblings were significantly linked to violence, Florian, who died as a result of his father's violence, and his brother Joseph who was convicted of raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl.
As one might imagine, Kuklinski's relationship with his parents was negative. He describes disliking his father and called described his mother as "a cancer." Not only was Stanley an alcoholic who beat his children without any provocation, he eventually abandoned the family. Anna's violence was not as random; it appears to have been aimed at preventing him from engaging in criminal behavior and was tied to her religious fervor. The family was Catholic and Kuklinski was emerged in the religion as a child, even serving as an altar boy. The family was in the lower socioeconomic class, and, while Kuklinski had a stable environment during his childhood, that environment was a housing project.
birth and Early Development
Despite his troubled childhood, there is no record the Kuklinski had any of the childhood problems generally associated with a sociopath or psychopath. There are no known problems during birth or pregnancy. There is no record of serious childhood illness or hospitalization. Furthermore, there is no known history of firestarting or bedwetting. However, Kuklinski did have a well documented history of abuse towards animals. He tortured and killed cats and dogs with some regularity.
marital and Relationship History
Kuklinski had a single marriage. He was married to Barbara Pedrici from 1961 until he died in 2006. The marriage, though it had troubles, lasted 45 years. There were no intentional separations between the couple. However, they did live apart for a significant period of time due to the fact that Kuklinski was married to his wife at the time of his incarceration, and they remained married until he died in prison in 2006. There is a significant history of domestic violence in the marriage, with the children reporting abuse as well. The couple had three children, two daughters, Merrick and Chris, and a son, Dwayne. There is a significant history of violence towards the children.
Kuklinski's educational history was very lacking. He stated in his interview that he had an 8th grade education. His attitude towards school seems varied. He attended a Catholic grammar school as a child, and he was an altar boy, suggesting somewhat positive feelings towards school. On the other hand, he dropped out of school before completing his education. He did indicate negative feelings about this because of how it impacted his earning potential as an adult. There was not sufficient information available to determine what his grades were when he was in school. Moreover, there is no indication that he was involved in special education when he was in school.
Prior to becoming involved in higher-level organized crime, he worked as a pool shark and other low-level criminal activity. Then he began working in a pornography lab, which introduced him to organized crime. He eventually became a mob hit man. He worked more than 30 years as a hitman for the mob, as well as narcotics, pornography, and arms dealing. He never really lost his position. Instead, his "employment" ended when he was arrested on December 17, 1986, and eventually convicted for these murders. He seemed to have a functional working relationship with his mob associates, although his death is suspected to have been the result of murder because of his upcoming role in a trial against another mob boss.
Kuklinski's medical history is unremarkable. He had no known medications, no significant medical complaints prior to his death, no history of serious illness, no known major surgeries, no known history of seizures, no known history of broken bones, and no known history of head injuries. Therefore, it seems unlikely that there was a physiological foundation for his behavior.
alcohol and drug history
At the time of his incarceration, Kuklinski appeared to be completely sober. However, he did have a history of problem drinking. He presumably began drinking at some time in his teens. His drink of choice was not specified. How much and how often he drank was not specified. However, by his 20s, his drinking was considered problematic. There is no evidence that he either sought or obtained treatment for alcohol or drug use, but he was able to function for several years. .
mental health history
Kuklinski had no known mental health history. He was never hospitalized for mental illness, but that does not mean that he did not exhibit mental health issues prior to his incarceration. For example, he had an almost lifelong propensity for violence towards humans and animals. Kuklinski demonstrates no remorse for his crimes, and was able to maintain a facade of normalcy in his daily life. He was abusive to his wife and children, but professes to have great love for his family.
Kuklinski appears to have antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is characterized by behavior that goes against social norms. Antisocial people appear to lack a conscience, and do not show remorse for wrongdoing. In order to diagnose someone with ASPD, there needs to be a presence of a conduct disorder prior to the age of 15, as well as three of seven signs of antisocial behavior after the age of 15. According to the Hare Psychopathology Checklist, the core components of psychopathology include: superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying, manipulativeness, lack of guilt, shallow affect, lack of empathy, and a failure to take responsibility for his own actions. Kuklinski demonstrates almost all of these factors. He comes across as polite and charming in person. He had an inflated sense of self-worth, stating he was involved in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. In fact, several of his murder confessions were proven to be false, suggesting a pathological liar. He was very manipulative; he was able to convince people he was simply a suburban small business owner while working as a mob hitman. He openly states that he does not feel remorse or guilt about his killings, though he does feel guilty about the impact his actions have had on his family. He seems unable to feel empathy for his victims; he killed people for no reason and seemed to lack the ability to feel empathy for them or for their surviving family members. However, Kuklinski does not exhibit the traditional failure to accept responsibility for his own actions that one expects in one with ASPD, though he does blame his father for cultivating murderous personalities in two of his children.
Kuklinski also demonstrated several factor 2 elements of ASPD, though he kept his murderous lifestyle separate from his family. He supported himself and his family solely through crime. He exhibited low levels of self-control in social situations, preying upon people in his youth and being physically abusive to his wife and children. However, he was financially responsible to his family, and he developed and achieved long-term goals that he was able to achieve in order to financially support his family.
Kuklinski was charged with five counts of murder, six weapons violations, attempted murder, robbery, and attempted robbery in 1987. Although there are some indications of serial-type murders in his youth, Kuklinski is not considered a serial offender, but rather a violent offender who killed for money. His history of murder began at the age of 14 and lasted through his lifetime, though the murders underlying his charges occurred towards the end of his life. In 1988, he was convicted of five counts of murder and sentenced to consecutive life sentences for those crimes. In 2003 he pleaded guilty to an additional charge of murder and received a 30-year sentence for that crime. He was not eligible for parole prior to…