Happy Dyngus Day!
Joel Rifkin catches a nap during his trial (April 21, 1994). His lawyer claimed that Rifkin slept through much of his trial due to an allergic reaction to bologna sandwiches the killer was fed in prison.
Although “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz is by far New York’s most well known serial killer, Joel David Rifkin is the state’s most prolific with an official total* of seventeen victims. Rifkin was born January 20, 1959 and grew up in Long Island. His childhood, adolescence, and young adult life were consistently miserable due to his extraordinary social and academic failure. He became fixated on the idea of strangling prostitutes at the age of 13 after viewing the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy which was indirectly inspired by London’s 1964-1965 “Jack the Stripper” murders. He planned and committed his first murder in March of 1989 at age 20 and was not caught until four years and seventeen victims later in June of 1993. His defense was unsuccessful in its attempt to plead mental illness due to multiple evaluating psychiatrists’ opinions that Rifkin was not a paranoid schizophrenic, but a clear psychopathic sexual sadist who was very well aware of his actions and consequences. He was convicted of nine out of the seventeen murders to which he confessed, and is currently serving 203 years to life at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. He will be eligible for parole in 2197 if he manages to live to the age of 238.
By the way, if you were hoping to buy Joel Rifkin’s old house you are too late.
Who says snail mail is dead? You can’t e-mail poop and dirty tampons.
Extra terrestrial or dinner fixin’s?
Japanese sea creature e-mail making the urban legend rounds.
Lifehacker’s (disappointingly tame) evil episode.
Inside Bedlam – interesting and sad.
Did you know that you have a snuffbox?
You may need to move to Bismarck.
Nobody escapes income taxes, not even witches.
That’s all I have this week, babies. Be good!
* Unfortunately the true number of a serial killer’s victims is sometimes never known. Like any other predator in the animal kingdom, they most often select victims based on how vulnerable and accessible they are. Prostitutes, severe drug or alcohol addicts, runaways, homeless people, and illegal immigrants are all populations which serial killers might see as being ripe for victimization. It is within these fringes of society that they are most likely to find “perfect victims.” Individuals who: are alienated from their families; lack a strong social network; are vulnerable due to desperate need or addiction; have an unstable or anonymous lifestyle that might cause their disappearance to go unnoticed; criminal histories that lead police to conclude the victim’s disappearance/death is explained by such activities catching up to him or her; may be in poor physical condition due to lifestyle and lack of health care; acquaintances are less likely to report suspicions because they either believe the police won’t care or because they do not want to draw attention themselves due to engagement in criminal activities or immigration status. Because of all these factors and the unreliability of killer confessions, accurate tallies are rarely known. These people have few champions… it is sadly easy for many of them to simply disappear.