When Joseph Roy Metheny was charged with several mur*ders and confessed to cooking his victims’ flesh in 1996, the news was widely reported. When he was questioned, he confessed to more heinous crimes and acknowledged ki*lling over ten people in one go. In addition, he admitted to ki*lling one male victim.
In Essex, Maryland, Metheny’s childhood home, he was neglected. When Metheny was only six years old, his alcoholic father died in an automobile accident. In addition, his mother neglected her six children due to her long hours spent away from home at work. Metheny claimed that because of his parents’ abuse, he was regularly placed in foster-like situations as a child and sent to live with other families.
His mother added that he was always courteous and never rude, and that he was an above-average student. She also remembered that he rode his bicycle a lot. “He was intelligent and had a happy childhood,” she remarked. It was his fault if he was neglected. It was a decent house.
In 1973, Metheny enlisted in the U.S. Army after turning eighteen. According to his mother, he was a soldier in Germany. But he said he was in an artillery unit during his tour in Vietnam and developed a heroin addiction. His mother claimed she could not recall him serving in Vietnam, and press accounts of his service’s circumstances stated they were unconfirmed; at that point, direct American involvement in Vietnam had come to an end.
After leaving to enlist in the military, he hardly spoke to his mother. He simply kept straying farther and farther away, she claimed. I believe that drugs were the worst thing that had ever happened to him. It is a very depressing tale.
Metheny was referred to as “Tiny” in the 1990s despite being 6’1″, overweight, and having a large frame. He frequented bars and shared filthy, makeshift camps in South Baltimore with groups of homeless men. He bought crack cocaine, heroin, and Southern Comfort with nearly all of his money. Metheny was regarded as intelligent, polite, and well-mannered, and he was able to maintain employment as a forklift driver.
Metheny strangled 39-year-old Cathy Ann Magaziner in 1994. Magaziner was a sex worker. He interred her body in an extremely shallow grave near the pallet factory where he was employed. There, the body lay undiscovered for more than two years. He also told that six months after murd*ering her, he dug up her skeleton, took her head, put it in a box, and threw it in the trash.
Metheny was charged and put on trial for murd*er in 1995 for allegedly ki*lling two 33-year-old homeless men, Randy Piker and Randall Brewer, with an axe. Some disputes involved rival groups of homeless men. After being used to k*ill Brewer and Piker, the same axe was stolen and used by Larry Amos to ki*ll another homeless man, Everett W. Dowell.
The bodies were discovered on August 2nd, 1995, which was the same day Dowell was k*illed. Amos was then arrested and accused of first-degree mu*rder. Amos pleaded guilty to the lesser manslaughter charge and was released after serving one year and nine months of his eight-year sentence.
A member of the jury was unconvinced that Metheney was the one who ki*lled Brewer and Piker. This concluded in July 1996 that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Metheny later said that he was guilty of those mur*ders along with the others he had committed.
In the middle of November 1996, Metheny ki*lled 23-year-old Kimberly Lynn Spicer by stabbing her with a knife.
December 8th. 1996, Metheny kidnapped and attempted to sexually assault his friend Rita Kemper. They had befriended each other as they shared drugs (mostly cocaine) with each other. According to prosecutors, they were in Metheny’s trailer together and when she refused to have sex with him, she ran out of the trailer and he chased her. He also said to her, “I’m going to k*ill you and bury you in the woods with the other girls.” Kemper escaped and ran to nearby police officers.
At this time, Metheny hadn’t gotten rid of Spicer’s body. He had been hiding it at the factory site since she had died. Metheny asked a friend to help bury her. The friend reported it to the police on December 15th, 1996. On the same day, Metheny was arrested and charged with mur*der. The owner of the business was also charged as an accessory to the crime, as he allegedly was disposing of evidence.
When he was arrested for the mur*der of Spicer, Metheny confessed to other m*urders as well. Three days after, he lead police to the grave where had been buried, Magaziner. Although he had decapitated her, she was identified by dental records.
Police reported that he chose young white women as his victims, who were also heroin and cocaine-addicted sex workers. Most of his kil*lings involved brutal sexual assaults. It was said that he k*illed Toni Lynn Ingrassia, aged 28. However, this was dropped due to the lack of evidence. Metheny claimed that he kil*led three more prostitutes along Washington Boulevard in Baltimore. Once again there is a lack of evidence for these cases, especially since their bodies were never found.
It was reported in The Baltimore Sun in 1997 that it wasn’t clear how truthful Metheny’s claims were, as he said he ki*lled 10 people. Metheny’s attorney was remorseful and drugs and alcohol changed Metheny and made him into a monster.
In 1997 Metheny was tried in the Kemper case and was given a 50-year sentence for kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. Metheny was also acquitted of trying to murd*er her. He was given the death sentence in 1998 for Spicer’s mu*rder. During his sentence hearing, Metheny said that he k*illed because he enjoyed it, and that he got a rush and high from it. He said, “I have no real excuse why other than I like to do it.”
August 1998, he pleaded guilty to the murd*ers and robbing Magaziner. Prosecutors thought the death penalty was suitable. However, in that case, he only received a life sentence. It was overturned and his sentence for Spicer’s mur*der was reduced to life without parole. They argued that Magaziner’s death was not planned and it was only supposed to be a robbery, but the proof indicated robbery wasn’t his motivation.
Later on August 5th, 2017, he was found dead in his cell at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland at the age of 62.