Sometimes there are real-life criminals whose stories are so gruesome that you can’t even imagine them winding up on an episode of your favorite late night TV crime series. That’s definitely the case with Joe “The Cannibal” Metheny, a serial killer who served his victims’ bodies to unsuspecting customers in their food.
The article that follows dives deep into the gruesome yet true story of this urban legend come to life.
10. He Confessed To Killing 10 Women In The Baltimore Area
According to his own confession, Metheny killed 10 women in the Baltimore area over his prolific career as a serial killer, although he was only convicted of the murder of four of these women. This inconsistency is a trend with the story of Joe Metheny. Much of what he admitted to couldn’t be formally proved, as we’ll see in the next slide.
9. His Story Doesn’t Add Up
Metheny’s confession is likely a combination of fact and fiction, and it’s hard to tell which is which. Even his lawyer had a hard time separating the truth from the lies. Metheny told him that his mother was dead, which came as a surprise to his mother who was tracked down by reporters.
The next slide tells the story of two of the people who Metheny claimed to have murdered, but wasn’t convicted for.
8. He Chopped Up Two Homeless Men With An Axe…
According to one of Metheny’s confessions, in 1994, while he was away on a stint as a truck driver, he came home to find out that his then-girlfriend had run off with his son. Because he knew she was a drug addict, he went searching for her under a bridge where he knew she would go to get high.
Instead of finding his girlfriend and son, he found two homeless men. In Metheny’s words, “They were passed out on some old stinking mattress and that’s where they were when I left, except they were dead from being chopped up.”
7. …Or Did He?
During his trial, Metheny ended up being acquitted of the murders of the two homeless men, Randall Brewer and Randy Piker. The jurors in the trial sent the judge a note saying they thought that another homeless man was responsible for the killings. Additionally, the pattern of Metheny’s other killings clearly displayed that his primary targets were young women.
Whether or not he killed these two homeless men, Metheny was still a brutal murderer, as we’ll see in the next slide.
6. He Had Sex With One Of His Victim’s Skulls
One of the victims who Metheny confessed to killing was Catherine Magaziner. However, in his confession, he claims to have done some other horrible things in addition to killing the woman, who was working as a prostitute at the time of her death. After being invited back to his trailer, Metheny stabbed and strangled the woman. Once she was dead, he dismembered her body and discarded her remains. According to Metheny, six months later he returned to the place where he dumped her body and had sex with her skull.
Magaziner’s murder was the crime for which Metheny was originally sentenced to death, but unfortunately this sentence didn’t end up sticking, as we’ll see in the next slide.
5. He Was Originally Sentenced to Death, But The Sentence Was Overturned
In July of 2000, The Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the death sentence for Joseph Metheny. Despite the fact that Metheny confessed to the killing of Catherine Magaziner and begged the jury to let him die, the overturning of the verdict came down to the fact that the court couldn’t find evidence that Metheny had robbed the woman. This was apparently an aggravating factor which had originally allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
4. He Was An Intelligent, Well-Spoken Man
The accounts of people who knew Metheny made it almost seem surprising that he would ever commit the horrible acts for which he confessed to. At one time he served in the Army, where he took physics courses. Even his attorney, Margaret A. Mead, described Metheny as “remarkably kind and gentle” in their conversations. Despite how he came across in conversations, his physical appearance certainly made him an imposing presence, as we’ll see in the next slide.
3. He Was Also A Large, Intimidating Man
It’s certainly clear that Metheny had a physically intimidating appearance. According to some sources, at 48 years of age Metheny weighed in at 450 pounds of both fat and muscle. Considering most, or all, of his victims were women, Metheny’s size explains how he was able to easily overpower them. It also explains how his final would-be victim, Rita Kemper, was able to escape by outrunning him.
2. He Set Up A BBQ Stand To Serve The Flesh Of His Victims To Customers
In his confession, Metheny states that after killing two women, he butchered them and stuck their remains in Tupperware containers, which he then kept in his freezer. In the weeks that followed, Metheny set up a small BBQ stand on the side of the road in Maryland. He says that the human body tastes very similar to pork and beef, and that no one was able to tell the difference.
It was this horrific BBQ stand that ultimately led to Metheny’s arrest, as we’ll find out in the next slide.
1. His BBQ Stand Led To His Arrest
After running his BBQ stand for a little while, Metheny says that he “ran out of [his] special meat.” In order to replenish his inventory, he lured another woman up to his trailer. This woman, Rita Kemper, managed to escape and go straight to the police. Fortunately, the authorities believed her story and arrested Metheny shortly after, putting an end to his string of evil deeds.