TRENTON, N.J. (AP) Richard Biegenwald, the "Thrill Killer" who took the lives of at least five people but quashed the state's attempts to execute him, died Monday, a state official said. He was 67.
Biegenwald died at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, said Corrections Department spokeswoman Deirdre Fedkenheuer. He had been ill, but the cause of death was not determined Monday, she said.
Biegenwald tried to burn down his family's home at age 5 and was taken to a psychiatric hospital in New York. Three years later, records from a private school for disturbed children showed he had a drinking problem, according to a 1983 New York Times article.
Biegenwald was 18 when he killed Stephen Sladowski, a store owner in Bayonne and an assistant city prosecutor, in a robbery in 1958. He was paroled in 1975 and spent the next several years in and out of jail for parole violations.
In 1980, he married and moved with his wife to Point Pleasant Beach and later Asbury Park. But eventually, he killed again.
He was convicted of killing three female teenagers and a man, drug dealer William Ward, in 1981 and 1982. A prosecutor once said Biegenwald lured Ward to his car and shot him four times in the head because he wanted to see someone die.