A pair in Yonkers had a darkish interest for many years: seducing serial killers by mail.
For greater than 20 years, at the very least 100 of the nation’s most vicious serial and superstar murderers — together with John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz, Charles Manson, Arthur Shawcross, Edmund Kemper, Karla Faye Tucker, Robert John Bardo and Gerard Schaefer, amongst others — eagerly corresponded with Barbara and Richie Dickstein.
To “hook” the criminals, Barbara and Richie wrote letters pretending to be no matter turned on the killers — like when she despatched pictures of a neighborhood stripper and pretended it was her to tantalize Ramirez.
“If you look at most of these serial killers’ childhoods, they never had any love. I think they thought that with us, ‘Here’s someone willing to show me love and I’ll try it with them,’ ” Barbara advised The Post.
The Dicksteins first wrote to Son of Sam round 1992. It was Barbara’s thought, she mentioned, as a result of she knew somebody who had narrowly missed being a Berkowitz sufferer. Richie was a corrections officer, and so they each have been curious concerning the minds of killers. The letter writing took off and continued till they stopped round 2005.
Richie, who was heterosexual and died in 2018, persuaded Gacy, Dahmer and different homosexual murderers that he was gay. Dahmer, a serial killer and cannibal, wrote to Richie asking to see “every unclothed muscular inch of you.” When Dahmer’s fellow inmate Christopher Scarver killed him in 1994 by crushing his cranium with a steel bar, the Dicksteins started writing to Scarver and he despatched them demise pictures of Dahmer.
Richie additionally managed to persuade Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother convicted of murdering her two younger sons in 1994, that he was in love together with her.
“Susan Smith was obsessed with my husband and Bardo was really obsessed with me,” mentioned Barbara, now retired from a profession in advertising.
Bardo, who fatally shot actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989 after stalking her for 3 years, mailed Barbara a mean of 15 letters, some so long as 20 pages, per week till she received sick of attempting to maintain up with them and dumped him.
The Dicksteins’ trove incorporates greater than 30,000 letters. Many reference killers chopping up their victims, raping and torturing them, and delighting of their ache, and are too graphic to publish.
The assortment — which incorporates audiotapes of calls from the prisoners and their paintings — varieties the idea for a brand new crime podcast, “Killer’s Vault,” launching June 28.
“I was shocked by the content and the amount of detail in the letters and the bond Barbara and Richie managed to develop with these guys,” mentioned producer Rob Cea, a former NYPD murder detective.
“These killers lie to everyone,” Cea mentioned. “They lie to psychologists, reporters, their own lawyers. So it’s extraordinary to see how they let their guard down in these letters. Some of them told about crimes they’d never admitted before.”
The pair developed sturdy platonic ties to a few of the killers as nicely, Barbara mentioned.
Richie and the Son of Sam received so shut that the killer’s lawyer advised Barbara he cried when he came upon about Richie’s demise.
Barbara herself was upset when she came upon one in all her favorites, Karla Faye Tucker, had been executed by deadly injection in 1998. Tucker, a one-time groupie connected to the Eagles and the Allman Brothers, killed two folks with a pickaxe throughout a 1983 housebreaking.
“I started crying,” Barbara mentioned. “Richie was like why are you crying? I said I feel the same way about her as you do about Berkowitz. We just clicked. We both loved cats and gardening.”
Barbara additionally favored the so-called “Angel of Death” Richard Angelo, the Long Island nurse who was convicted of killing eight of his sufferers and poisoning 26 extra in 1989.
“We had an affinity,” Barbara mentioned.
She added that Richie and Charles Manson wrote to one another for years however Manson was “certifiable” and his letters barely made any sense.
“In the beginning I liked it,” Barbara mentioned of the letter writing. “But after about five years it got to be more of a job. The [higher] the body count the more Richie wanted to write them. I got close to a few with low body counts and Richie would say, ‘Why are you spending time writing to nobodies?’ But I liked some of the nobodies.”
Richard ‘Night Stalker’ Ramirez
Born in El Paso, Texas, in 1960, the “Night Stalker” terrorized residents up and down the California coast in 1984 and 1985. Ramirez was convicted in 1989 of 13 counts of homicide, 5 tried murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. He corresponded with each Richie and Barbara however didn’t know they have been married. Ramirez talked endlessly about his sexual fetishes with Barbara and requested Richie, who advised him he was a strip-club supervisor, to ship him hardcore porn magazines. (Ramirez died of lymphoma problems in 2013 whereas on Death Row.)
In a handwritten September 1994 letter to Richie, he recalled: “I used to go to downtown LA to take pictures . . . There was a place where I could go under the street. It was at a stoplight. I’d be able to look up the [women’s] dresses as they would wait for the walk sign to change. I’d take pictures. You’d be surprised how many chicks walk around w/ no panties . . . You see Madonna at the MTV Awards? I was with Sean Penn at the LA County Jail. He was in jail for 30 days for punching out a camera. She came to visit him and I saw her. She’s tiny . . . Something about Hillary Clinton that I dig. Her calves and ankles are definitely healthy. I think you’d agree.”
He additionally crammed out a questionnaire in an undated correspondence, which reads partially:
Perfect Woman or Man: Superman, Wonder Woman
Childhood Hero(es): Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein
Favorite Movie: Unforgiven
Every January 1st I Resolve: To be extra of an a–gap than I already am
Nobody Knows I’m: extra wicked than they suppose I’m
What I Don’t Like About People: Numerous issues
My Biggest Fear: None
Friends Like Me Because: Who wants associates?
If I Were An Animal, I’d Be: A panther
Personal Goals In Life: None
Favorite Number: 666
Political Views: Crazy anarchy? Whatever meaning
Religious Thinking: Evil?
What You Are Thinking Now: Evil ideas. Evil doorways
John Wayne Gacy
Known because the “Killer Clown” — as a result of he had labored as a clown at kids’s occasions and in addition painted clown portraits — Gacy, born in Chicago in 1942, was convicted of murdering at the very least 33 younger males and boys. After speaking to Richie on the cellphone, Gacy often badgered him for a photograph from Richie’s youthful days, as on this July 25, 1993, typewritten letter adorned with infantile stickers:
“But now you have your word on the line, saying you would send those photo[s], hey who knows maybe if I like one of them i’ll do a painting of you then out of the 2,100 painting[s] I have done you would have a personal one. That would be cool.”
Gacy wrote to Richie sounding like a spurned lover within the months and days earlier than his execution in May 1994, complaining that Richie — who Gacy believed was homosexual — had promised to go to him and hadn’t:
“You have did not maintain your phrase with me for the previous few months. Always saying that you just have been going to ship me extra revealing pictures, and so on. or simply the youthful one, and but your phrase is for sh-t. I nonetheless haven’t gotten one. So why maintain saying issues to me in the event you don’t intend on retaining your phrase?
“How soon are you coming out? Hell, I have been hearing it since last August and you’re still not here. Almost as bad as not sending photos, so get with both and stop making excuses. No more, ‘I can’t find them’ or ‘I forgot.’ Hell if you mean what you say then do it, that would make me happy.”
David ‘Son of Sam’ Berkowitz
Born in Brooklyn in 1950 and often called the “Son of Sam” throughout his killing spree that terrified New Yorkers in 1976 and 1977, Berkowitz was the primary killer to whom the Dentons wrote. He and Richie turned shut associates, and Barbara mentioned Berkowitz, who’s imprisoned on the Shawangunk Correctional Facility within the Hudson Valley, was among the many “least sexual” of all of the killers they befriended.
In a January 2003 typewritten letter, he wrote: “You asked me for a photo and then you asked me to draw you a picture of what I look like. For some reason this put me ill at ease. I know you were kind of joking but it spooked me . . . I don’t think you understand what I go through and the pain and grief I have in my heart over the past. And even 25 years later the media still chases me around. I am ashamed of the past and want to move on. I have a fear that some people write to me for other motives.”
Dahmer, born in 1960, was a Milwaukee-area cannibal and necrophiliac convicted of the homicide of 16 males and boys between 1978 and 1991. Richie advised Dahmer he was homosexual.
In March of 1984, eight months earlier than he was discovered bludgeoned in a jail rest room and died from his accidents, Dahmer despatched Richie a letter utilizing what seems to be a phrase processor:
“. . . with all the mail I get, it’s difficult to know who I should respond to. In your next letter would you please send me some really good photo’s to help make your letter stand out in the crowd. You said you’re a bodybuilder, that’s good. I’d like to see every unclothed muscular inch of you.”
Born in 1934, Manson died in jail in 2017 whereas serving a life sentence for 9 murders. Like many serial killers Manson thought he may get out some day and hoped, on this undated and handwritten letter, that Richie might get him a job on the strip membership the place Richie pretended to work.
Richard – It’s at all times good to right here [sic] from you – i’ve been just a few years understanding of the opening – once more. O, WELL. when the opposite inform on me and make up storys [sic] they need to imagine as a result of it provides to there [sic] job significance I get to go over the identical previous standard so it might flip the circle within the chains of command. Send your quantity and I’ll name you – I do know you been used by some individuals who referred to as me brother and sooner or later possibly it should catch up. You and I are nonetheless stable so far as I’m involved. I did ask a great good friend to assist me and I defined – will keep in touch. Easy Charles Manson.
PS if I get out might you give me a job as a bouncer?