Richard Biegenwald Bioghraphy

A brief bioghraphy Richard Biegenwald, known as the

In 1983, Richard Biegenwald would confide in one of his jailors that he had killed some 300 young women in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, all having long, dark hair. He lured the girls into his car by promising them pot, and then, at isolated locations, would shoot or stab them to death. Jailhouse bragging, maybe so, but there were very many young girls gone missing in the years 1974 to 1983.

Those were the years police would automatically assume runaway status and do little in the way of looking. Run off to California, maybe; got caught up in some devil worship cult, perhaps. She'll come home when she's hungry enough.

Asbury Park in the 1980s was no longer the grand resort it had been 100 years earlier and it was not the hugely popular amusement park it was in the mid 20th century. It was down on its luck, but not out, as its reputation as a center for sex, drugs, and rock & roll spread among the young in the tri-state area. Many of the longhaired daughters of the Mid-Atlantic came to Asbury Park and some of them were already dead when they left.

Richard Biegenwald, a native of the Charleston section of Staten Island, New York, graduated grammar school from the eighth grade, at age 16. He stayed in high school only a few weeks. At 17, in 1958, he stole a car, drove across Staten Island to the Bayonne Bridge and into Bayonne, New Jersey. During a grocery store holdup, he shot and killed Stephen Sladowski, the storeowner and an assistant district attorney. Biegenwald and his partner in the crime took off for the South. In Salisbury, Maryland he shot and killed a policeman. A little while later, he fired off a shotgun at Maryland state troopers who had pulled him over for speeding.

Biegenwald received his first life sentence after being convicted of killing Sladowski; he was released in 1974. In 1977 he stopped reporting to his parole officer and the system seemed simply to forget him. He was picked up on a rape charge, which was dismissed, but he served time for the parole violation. He was married while in the Brooklyn House of Detention to a young girl from his neighborhood on Staten Island. Released from jail, Biegenwald took a job as a maintenance man in Asbury Park, New Jersey where he lived with his young wife.

It was in his years at the Jersey Shore, 1980 to 1983, that Biegenwald earned the nickname, "Thrill Killer."

Biegenwald sometimes took his wife along to the boardwalk trolling for victims and, sometimes, another woman, his wife's friend. He showed her one dead body he'd parked in his garage and gave her a ring belonging to another. This she would later report to police, once the body of 18-year old Anna Olesiewicz, shot four times in the head, was found behind a restaurant near Asbury Park in 1983.

Biegenwald moved into an Asbury Park apartment with a jailhouse buddy, Dherran Fitzgerald. Police had occasion to search the apartment and arrested both of them after finding the floor plans to several local businesses, pipe bombs, pistols, a machine gun, knockout drops, marijuana, and a live snake.

Fitzgerald soon started talking to the cops about having helped Biegenwald bury girls' bodies in his mother's garden on Staten Island. While Fitzgerald was burying one girl, he accidentally disturbed the remains of another. Both girls, hair long and dark, had gone missing from Point Pleasant, a few miles south of Asbury Park. Both girls were dismembered and their pieces buried in his mother's garden.

Fitzgerald pointed to the shallow grave in Neptune City, a town away from Asbury Park, of William Ward, an escaped convict with five bullets in his head. This Biegenwald described as a "business killing." Biegenwald was also suspected in the murder-kidnap of a 17-year old girl, the daughter of a Jersey Shore mobster. The girl's father issued a $100,000 price on Biegenwald's head, but he was arrested before the contract could be fulfilled.

Biegenwald, sentenced this time to death, received life in prison after two State Supreme Court reversals. The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer has been removed from Death Row.

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