Death to the Candyman

Death to the Candyman

March 31, 1984 - Ronald Clark O'Bryan was executed by lethal injection on this day. He was the infamous Candyman who 10 years earlier killed his own son with a poisoned Pixy Stix.

Back in 1974, O'Bryan was an optometrist living in Deer Park, Texas near Houston. He was eight months behind on his car payments and had amassed over $100,000 in debt. So he set up life insurance policies on his 2 children totaling $60,000. He also started asking his coworkers about how easy it would be to get his hands on some cyanide.

When Halloween rolled around O'Bryan seemed unusually excited about the night. He invited some friends and their children to trick or treat along with his kids. At one darkened house along the way, O'Bryan lagged behind the group. Moments later he came jogging up with 5 Giant Pixy Stix that he claimed were handed to him by a neighbor.

Later as the kids gathered at a friend's house sorting through their candy, O'Bryan was seen leaping over a coffee table to stop his 8-year-old son, Timothy, from eating one of the Pixy Stix. He assured the kid that he could eat it later, before he went to bed.

As promised, Timothy did get to eat the treat, and he immediately started vomiting. He went into convulsions and was dead within an hour.

It didn't take long for the police to connect the dots. What's amazing is that none of the other children, including O'Bryan's daughter, were killed. One of the toxic Pixy Stix was actually plucked from a sleeping child's hands. Apparently the staples that O'Bryan had used to reseal the candy had thwarted the child's attempts to open it.

The murder had a chilling effect on Halloween for many years to come. The fact is, this is the only documented fatality related to poisoned Halloween candy - ever.

For his last meal, O'Bryan requested a T-bone steak (medium to well done), French fries with ketchup, whole kernel corn, sweet peas, a salad with French dressing, iced tea, sweetener, saltines, Boston cream pie, and rolls.

As he was put to death, a crowd of college students in Halloween masks cheered, "trick or treat" from outside the prison walls.

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