Born out of wedlock in December 1940,
Richard Tingler was raised by a mother who beat him regularly,
interspersing punishment with frequent reminders that her son was "born
Enlisting in the air force to escape from home, Tingler
experienced his first run-in with police in June 1959, while stationed
in Alaska. Going AWOL with a friend, he was arrested on a charge of
burglary in Anchorage, and wound up pleading guilty to four break-ins.
Transferred several times during his two-year
federal sentence, Tingler was released from Chilicothe, Ohio, in
February 1961. Six months later, with the same air force crony, he was
busted in Portsmouth, Ohio, on thirteen counts of breaking and entering.
Packed off to state prison for a term of one to fifteen years, Tingler
was paroled in August 1964. More burglaries sent him back to prison, as
a parole violator, but he was finally released in February 1968.
On September 16, early-morning joggers found four bodies laid out side-by-side
in Cleveland's Rockefeller Park. The victims, slain by multiple
gunshots from two different weapons, included tavern proprietor Joseph
Zoldman, two of his part-time bartenders, and a young female prostitute.
Authorities surmised that the four had been taken hostage in a tavern
robbery, conveyed to the park at gunpoint, and murdered there to
eliminate troublesome witnesses.
A month later, on October 20, a lone gunman entered a dairy bar in
Columbus, Ohio, near closing time. Scooping $562 out of the register, he
ordered manager Phyllis Crowe and two teenage employees -- Susan Pack
and Jimmy Stevens -- into the back room. Binding their hands, the bandit
was about to leave when he paused in the doorway, his face contorted by
sudden rage, and snarled, "What the hell, I ain't got nothing to
lose. I'm gonna kill you all."
Ripping the door of a safe from its mountings, the stranger advanced on
Pack and Stevens, pounding their skulls in a frenzy. Turning on Phyllis
Crowe, he twisted a coathanger around her neck, choking her into
unconsciousness and leaving her for dead. When she woke and struggled
free a half-hour later, Crowe found that both her employees had also
been shot in the back of their heads. Ballistics tests matched the
bullets to one of the guns used in Cleveland on October 20, and Mrs.
Crow identified a mug shot of Richard Tingler as her assailant.
Indicted on six counts of murder, Tingler was added to the FBI's
"Ten Most Wanted" list on November 8, 1968. By that time,
using the name of "Don Williams," he had secured employment on
a farm owned by Alvin Hoffman, near Dill City, Oklahoma. Hoffman thought
it strange that his employee packed a pistol everywhere he went, but
"Williams" was a decent worker, and a love of firearms does
not make a man stand out in Oklahoma.
On March 30, 1969, Tingler's photograph was broadcast following an
episode of "The FBI" television series. Viewing the program,
"Don Williams" realized his time was running short. He became
increasingly nervous on the job, and one morning he failed to report for
On April 27, 49-year-old Brooks Hutchenson checked into a motel at
Gilman, Illinois, accompanied by a new acquaintance, "D.L. Williams."
Next morning, the maid found Hutchenson dead in his room, shot four
times at close range, with his cash and late-model Ford LTD missing.
On April 29, "Don Williams" returned to the Hoffman farm,
driving Hutchenson's car. He left again the next morning, but returned
-- minus the car -- on May 2. By this time, his erratic behavior was
drawing attention from neighbors, and Tingler's time was running out.
By mid-May, the Washita County sheriff's office was receiving complaints
about "Williams" and his indiscriminate gunfire. A neighbor's
dog had been killed without provocation, and the farm hand was fond of
shooting glass insulators on high-tension poles lining the highway.
Deputies investigating the complaints were warned by locals that the
gunman bore a strong resemblance to a wanted fugitive .
On May 19, a team of federal agents joined sheriff's deputies on a
second visit to the farm. They found Tingler working in a field,
relieved him of an automatic pistol, and took him into custody without
resistance. Tried on six counts of murder in Ohio, the fugitive was
convicted and sentenced to die.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE:
VENUE: Cleveland/Columbus, Ohio
MO: Executed victims of both
sexes during robberies
DISPOSITION: Condemned, 1969
(sentence commuted to life, 1972)