Texas Halloween Candy Man - Death by Lethal Injection

Huntsville Walls Unit by Mark Britain from Houston, USA (Day trip to Huntsville) CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The "Walls" Prison Unit, Huntsville, Texas


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Deer Park, Texas - Halloween night, 1974

Trick or Treating on a Halloween Night:

It was a normal Halloween night for eight year old Timothy O'Bryan. He and his sister and two other children got dressed up in their Halloween costumes and went door to door yelling the typical phrase, Trick or Treat!

But this night would be Timothy's last one on Earth. The man who killed Halloween, his own father, had given him and his sister and three other children, some very large Pixy Stix® laced with cyanide.

The kids, with adults in tow, knocked at one house and got no answer. They ran ahead to the next house while Ronald O'Bryan lagged behind. He caught up with the kids and presented them with the four large tubes of candy, the fifth one Ronald gave to another trick or treating child. Later on that night, Timothy would try to open that candy, but only succeeded with his father's help. As it turned out, the father coaxed the boy into trying that particular piece of candy.

Immediately after telling his father that the candy tasted bitter, the father gave Timothy a drink to wash the taste out of his mouth. A few moments later Timothy was convulsing and being rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to rather large dose of cyanide poisoning.

Halloween Candy Bucket

Typical Halloween candy bucket By Petey21 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Typical Halloween candy
Old Electric Chair - since been replaced by Lethal Injection - Pixabay
Electric Chair or Lethal Injection?

About Ronald Clark O'Bryan

Mr. O'Bryan was an optician who worked at the Sharpstown shopping center in Houston, Texas. He was also a deacon at a Second Baptist Church near his home. He sang in their choir. He drove a local school bus. On the surface, Ronald seemed like a normal young husband and father.

During the homicide investigation it was discovered that this pillar of the community wasn't what he seemed. Although he worked for Texas State Optical, they were about to fire him for theft. He had tried to hold onto 21 jobs in a period of 10 years. Ronald was seriously in debt. He owed close to $100,000. His house was being repossessed along with his car. He had even asked a customer, a chemical engineer, about poisons.

The final straw (pun intended) came when investigators discovered that Ronald had taken out two rather large insurance policies on the two children, complete with double pay out for accidental deaths, only a month before their deaths.

After investigating Ronald's Halloween night story about where he had got the candy from, police discovered that Ronald had lied about the house where he had supposedly gotten the candy. The owner of that house was an air traffic controller and it was proven that he was at work that night, and no other houses that the kids visited had passed out that particular candy.

Upon execution of a search warrant, cyanide poison was found in Ronald's home. They also found a pocket knife with the candy residue on it. The other candy stix that Ronald had passed out to all of the five children were recovered and found to have been tampered with. O'Bryan would have killed five innocent children with his scheme to collect on some insurance policies.

O'Bryan's wife never filed to obtain the proceeds of Timothy's insurance policy. She called it "blood money".

Ronald maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, trial, conviction, and even up to the night he was put to death in Huntsville. He gained some further notoriety when he became the first inmate to die of lethal injection in Texas.

But Ronald Clark O'Bryan will forever be known as "The Candy Man" and the man who killed Halloween.

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O'Bryan's defense mainly drew upon the old urban legend concerning a "mad poisoner" who hands out Halloween candy laced with poison or needles or candy apples with razor blades inserted.

While this legend is often cited as being true and other cases have been falsely linked to it, there are no documented cases of any such event. (according to Wikimedia Commons)

Even today, people believe that Halloween Candy is "cursed". Many blogs online describe a rather revealing candy superstitions surrounding Halloween and the practice of Trick or Treating. It's SCARY!

Ghosts, Goblins, Witches abound!

Halloween is a time for the so-called evil spirits to lurk around the mortal world. Today we celebrate Halloween in two ways. One way is to honor the spirits of the dead and their victims. Another way is to celebrate life with all its strange, funny, and costumed ways.

Halloween parties usually have a theme and everyone dresses up in costumes of one sort or another. Halloween costumes range from funny to sad, and surprising to scary. What's not to love about a holiday where you can dress up as anything or anyone and then go eat candy?

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