We’ve all heard the urban legends about poisoned Halloween candy and razor blades in candy apples, but those are just stories, right?
Ronald Clarke O’ Bryan, aka The Candy man, was a Texas born father of two, who worked as an optician in Houston.
He was active in his local church, where he was a Deacon and a choir singer.
On Halloween night in 1974, O’ Bryan spiked five 21” Pixy Stix and gave them to his children as part of their Trick-or-Treat Candy haul. He also handed out the deadly candy to a couple of neighborhood kids, in order to make it look less suspicious when he eventually claimed the money from his children’s life insurance policies following their premeditated deaths.
Or at least, that was his plan.
His son Timothy, who was eight years old at the time, was the only child to eat the Pixy Stix and ingest the cyanide laced sherbet. He died an hour after consuming it on his way to the hospital, after claiming he had an upset stomach and writing and vomiting in pain.
Although not originally a suspect, Timothy’s autopsy results indicated that the Pixy Stix he ate was laced with enough of the poison to kill two grown men.
Police investigated and found the spiked candy that O’Bryan had handed out to the kids.
They found that the packaging had been tampered with and that someone had opened the confectionary, mixed potassium cyanide with the top level contents and stapled the plastic shut again.
O’Bryan claimed to have received the candy from a man in one of the two streets the kids had been trick or treating in, supervised by him and his neighbor.
He could give no description of the man, other than that he had a “hairy arm” that snaked out the slightly cracked door of an otherwise dark house, holding out a bunch of Pixy Stix which he then took and distributed to the kids who were trick or treating ahead of him.
The man who lived at the house in question was Courtney Melvin, an air traffic controller who was working at the time and thus ruled at as a suspect due to the high volumes of witness and alibies he was able to provide.
Parents in the neighborhood began to panic and throw away their Children’s candy.
An investigation uncovered information regarding O’Bryan’s financial problems.
He was over $100,000 in debt, about to be unemployed, his car had been repossessed and his house recently taken.
He had also taken out multiple life insurance policies on his two children, which his wife claimed to not be aware of. He called the companies one day after his son’s death and allegedly boasted of buying luxurious items and booking vacations while at the funeral of his child.
According to a local Chemist and a Chemical supplies salesman, O’Bryan had even made enquires about purchasing Cyanide and how much of it would take to kill a human.
He was executed by lethal injection on March 31st 1984.