Gary Heidnik takes the lead among killers who were seriously sick in the head as much as they were sexually depraved. All of his six victims were black women; he kidnapped, raped, and brutally tortured them, leading to the death of two. It is said that he grated the flesh of one of the victims, blended it with dog food and fed the others. Find facts about the life and death of the brutal killer below.
10 Facts Worth Knowing About Gary Heidnik
1. He Had a Troubled Childhood
Gary Michael Heidnik lived from 22nd November 1943 to the 6th of July 1999. He was born and raised in Eastlake, Ohio alongside a younger brother named Terry by Michael and Ellen Heidnik. Records have it that his parents divorced when he was about three years old. Thereafter, Gary and Terry lived with their mother for several years before moving in with their dad and his new wife.
Although Michael denied it, Gary would claim that his father abused him emotionally. Among other things, he contended that the older man humiliated him because of his bedwetting problem. Instead of helping his son deal with the problem, Michael reportedly made Gary spread the sheets he stained while the neighbors watched. People also made fun of him because of the shape of his head. In all, the killer had a childhood that was troubled albeit not extraordinary or peculiar to him.
2. He Had a Tendency to Asocial Behaviour
Gary Heidnik had a hard time getting along with people. While in school, he made sure he didn’t interact with other kids and always avoided making eye contact. From what we gathered, he once told a female student that she is not worthy enough to talk to him. Partly, his tendency to asocial behavior made it difficult for him to stay in school. He dropped out even though he was quite a bookish student.
3. Gary Heidnik Had a High IQ
The brutal killer was a brilliant student in school who was once tested with an I.Q of 148. It was obvious in his later life that he was intelligent, judging by the investments he made. In fact, he was described as an “astute investor” during trial for his crimes.
4. He Served In The US Army and Was Honorably Discharged
After he dropped out of high school, Gary Heidnik joined the US Army; he was only 17 years old then. He attempted to serve in various specialist positions but was rejected and trained as a medic. He did well in this and served to the best of his ability before he was honorably discharged after he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder. The condition is largely characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships.
5. The Killer Frequented Psychiatric Hospitals
Like many of his kinds, some facts point to the fact that Gary Heidnik was mentally unstable. After he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder and discharged from military service, he frequented mental health hospitals to receive treatment. His mental illness made it difficult for him to live a normal life. For instance, he had a job as a psychiatric nurse but was dismissed for his behavior towards patients.
6. And Attempted Suicide Many Times
It wouldn’t be out of place for one to suggest that Gary’s mental illness was hereditary. Like him, his brother spent some time in psychiatric hospitals and attempted to take his life many times. Their mom intentionally caused her own death by drinking mercuric chloride and Gary reportedly attempted suicide about 13 times. One of those instances was after he was sentenced for his crimes. He overdosed on Thorazine, an antipsychotic medication he was prescribed to.
7. Gary Heidnik Founded a Church
As surprising as this may seem, Gary Heidnik founded a church known as the United Church of the Ministers of God. Records show that he incorporated the church in October 1971. It was a successful venture that saw him accumulate wealth and paved the way for him to meet the woman he married.
8. He Raped and Humiliated His Wife
Gary Heidnik got married to Betty Disto on the 3rd of October 1985 and their union packed up in January the next year. Betty was quick to rush out of the marriage after she discovered her partner was sexually depraved. She once caught him having a wild session with three women in bed.
Apart from that, Gary would rape his wife repeatedly and make her watch him have sex with other women. Though their marriage ended as soon as it was contracted, it led to the birth of Jesse John Disto, one of the three kids the killer fathered.
9. How Heidnik Tortured His Victims
Before he made a victim out of his wife, Gary had been jailed for raping and sodomizing the sister of his girlfriend. Signing Alberta out from a mental hospital, Gary locked her up in his basement to gratify his sexual fantasies. He infected her with gonorrhea and was jailed after he was charged with crimes that range from kidnapping and rape to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and what have you.
He appealed his judgment and was eventually released after he spent three years in mental hospitals. What he did with Alberta would subsequently become his modus operandi. He held his victims in the basement of his house where he repeatedly raped and tortured them. Among other things, he stabbed them in the ear with a screwdriver and electrocuted them while they were bond in a pit filled with water.
Two of his six captives succumbed to death as he tortured them and he allegedly dismembered one of them, cooked some of her body parts, grated what’s left and mixed it with a dog food he fed the other ladies.
10. The Death of The Killer
His nemesis came on the 24th of March 1987, a day after Gary Heidnik and Josefina Rivera (one of his victims) kidnapped Agnes Adams. Rivera made the killer believe he had earned her loyalty. So when she asked Gary to allow her to visit her family, he obliged. As one would expect, Rivera called 911 and Gary was arrested. He was subsequently convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On the 6th of July 1999, Gary was executed by lethal injection.