Ronald Clark O’Bryan is remembered as the man who killed Halloween … a nicknamed along with the “CANDY MAN.”
His actions also began decades of parents ferociously searching their kids’ candy bowls after trick or treating ended each year.. something that continues until even today…
Every time you see local or state police offering up free X-Ray scans of candy on Halloween, think of O’Bryan…
He killed his own child Timothy, who was aged 8, with cyanide-laced sugar sticks..
O’Bryan was 30 when he did it.. the town of Pasadena Texas was rocked..
One house along the route was dark, but the children still rang the doorbell. There was no answer, so they moved on.
O’Bryan lagged behind and then, moments later, came running to catch up. He was waving five giant Pixy Stix, 22-inch straws filled with flavored sugar.
He told the kids it was their lucky day, because “rich neighbors” were distributing “expensive treats.”
Each of the three children on the walk got one Pixy Stix. Later, O’Bryan gave the fourth to Bates’ other child, a 5-year-old daughter. The final Pixy Stix went to a trick-or-treat visitor who rang the doorbell at the Bates house.
Timothy ate only a bit of the Pixy Stick when he said the taste was bitter.. moments later he was in pain and he was screaming and crying for his Daddy–the same daddy who was killing him..
Police interviewing the Candy Man become suspicious of his story – a story involving a neighbor giving the poison candy.. The man who was actually accused of the candy kill was not even there, and have 200 people take his side. On the other hand, O’Bryan, an optician who worked for Texas State Optical, was about $100,000 in debt, had lost his house, and was on the verge of losing his car.He was also about to lose his job because his bosses had discovered that he was stealing. In the decade before the crime, he had been booted from 21 other positions… And he had just taken out a $60,000 in life insurance on his children.
Money he would get if his kids were deceased..
Detectives were never able to pin down the source of the cyanide, but several witnesses at O’Bryan’s trial, which started in May 1975, told of his interest in obtaining the poison and how much it would take to kill. His sister-in-law also said that at the boy’s funeral the grieving dad mused about using the insurance money to take a long vacation.
“The only inescapable conclusion is that this man killed his own flesh and blood for money,” Prosecutor Mike Hinton told the court. “Think how easy it would be for him to kill a stranger for money.”
The jury took 46 minutes to find O’Bryan guilty and worthy of the death penalty.
Appeals dragged on for nearly 10 years, and O’Bryan maintained he was innocent to the end.
On March 31, 1984, “The Candy Man” had a last supper of steak, French fries, peas and Boston cream pie before his execution by lethal injection. As the sentence was carried out, demonstrators in Halloween masks stood outside the prison, yelling “Trick or Treat!”
The long term effects of this story are obvious. People got an idea that candy in general was unsafe.. that parents should be ensuring the security of their children.. Halloween, a season that is meant to be scary in a sense anyway, got even scarier. Until this time in the 1970s, Halloween had a quaint and mostly pleasant appeal across the United States. It was tamed highly from the early onset of the holiday during the beginning part of the 20th century. The CANDY MAN ruined the safety net that existed.. kids did not venture out alone anymore.. there were time limits put onto trick or treating by towns, usually a two-hour limit where you have to walk as fast as possible to hit up as many houses as you can while parents safely watch from a close distance. The arrival back home usually consists of candy being emptied onto a big table and each article of sweets being examined by a careful mom or dad.. And then, perhaps, you’ll be able to eat some after the questionable pieces have been properly disposed of..
All of this brewed from the mania and evil of one horrible father, who choose money over his own son’s life and murdered him. Destroying not only a life but also the entire season of the witch for good.