Richard Fran Biegenwald: One of New Jersey’s Worst Serial Killers

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By, Surabhi Ashok
Richard Fran Biegenwald, or the “Thrill Killer” as he was called, was convicted of killing 5 people from 1958 to 1982.
His first murder occurred when he was only 18 years old, when he robbed a grocery store in Bayonne, New Jersey and shot the owner Stephen Sladowski in 1958. Although he was arrested and sentenced to life, Biegenwald was granted parole on good behavior almost 16 years later.
However this “good behavior” did not last long. Only 8 years later, Biegenwald shot an 18 year-old girl four times after luring her from the boardwalk with marijuana. Annie Olesiewicz’s body was then deposited behind a Burger King and was only found five months later.
Between 1981 and 1982, Biegenwald was confirmed with killing three young teenage girls, Annie Olesciewicz, Maria Caillella, and Deborah Osborne, and another drug dealer named William Ward.
Caillella and Osborne’s dismembered bodies were buried in the yard on the side of Biegenwald’s mother’s house in Staten Island. Ward, a prisoner alongside Biegenwald, was buried in Neptune City, New Jersey with five bullets in his head.
Despite tips from Biegenwald’s friends linking him to nine murders, the Thrill Killer was convicted and arrested of only five due to a lack of concrete evidence. On the day of Biegenwald’s arrest, January 22, 1983, police found a pipe bomb, various types of guns, Rohypnol, marijuana, and more incriminating items in his house in Asbury Park.
Biegenwald died from respiratory and kidney failure in 2008 at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey.