Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brooklyn Thrill Killers

Jack Koslow, 18

Summer brings out the worst.

In the summer of 1954, four Brooklyn teenagers went on a senseless spree of violence and murder, terrorizing defenseless hobos. They beat one man to death, they beat Willard Menter, an African American, burned him with cigarettes and then dragged him for seven blocks before dumping him into the East River to drown. Several more were tortured. None were robbed. They did not know any of these people. They just fucked them up or left them to die.

These boys also admitted to horsewhipping girls in the park, and tying an old man's legs with gasoline-soaked cotton rags and setting him on fire.

None were gang members. Several were camp counsellors. They "liked athletics, played handball, swam at neighborhood pools, liked books and music." (Time, 7/30/1954)

When questioned about where they had arrived at such gruesome plots, they said they were inspired by comic books. This fact was mentioned at the Senate Subcommittee Hearings into Juvenile Delinquency.

One charge was dismissed, another boy turned state's evidence. Two of the youths - Jack Koslow (18) and Melvin Mittman (17) - were sentenced to life in prison for the death of Willard Menter. The others were Robert Trachtenberg (15) and Jerome Lieberman (17).


Bizarre photo of the boys identifying the body of Willard Menter.

Sources: Time Magazine
Various disreputable websites

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