How a Circus Performer, Grady Stiles Jr. went from performing a simple act of Circus to committing a murder: The Killer Lobster Boy.

The Stiles family suffered from ectrodactyly, a rare congenital abnormality that causes the hand to look like lobster claws because the middle fingers are either missing or appear to be fused with the thumb or little finger.

For over a century, the family has suffered from ectrodactyly, also known as the Lobster claw. It is a rare inherent hand distortion in which the middle digit is missing and the hand is parted where the metacarpal of the finger should be.

Despite the fact that cases vary in severity, this split frequently results in the presence of lobster hooks in the hands. This condition frequently affects both the hands and the feet, and while it is an acquired condition, it can occur at any age. When compared to ‘Lobster Claw Syndrome,’ the term ectrodactyly sounds medicinally clean.

While many have viewed Ectrodactyly as a handicap, for the Stiles family it came with an opportunity. The physical condition stayed within the family and any newcomer to the family came out with unusual hands and feet.

While many people saw Ectrodactyly as a disadvantage, the Stiles family saw it as an opportunity. The physical condition was passed down through the family, and any newcomer was born with unusual hands and feet.

Grady Stiles Jr., a member of the Stiles family, would give the Stiles family a different reputation when he became a serial abuser and murderer.

Grady was one of many sideshow performers who people came to gawk at during the carnival season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sometimes in wonder and sometimes out of rudeness.

Gary Stiles Jr. Becomes Lobster Boy

Grady was never concerned with the opinions of onlookers; he was only there to put on a show, whether his audience was impressed or not. Grady was born with a severe deformity, which earned him the nickname “The Lobster Boy.”

Lobster Boy, Grady Stiles
Grady Stiles Jr. a.k.a The Lobster Boy (Credit: Youtube)

Lobster Boy was born in Pittsburgh in 1937, at a time when his father was already a regular on the “freak show” circuit, bringing his children with the unusual physical condition along for the ride.

Grady couldn’t walk and be confined to a wheelchair due to the deformity; his legs were almost flipper-like and unable to bear weight, so he had to maneuver around in a wheelchair using his upper body.

Grady’s arm locomotion turned him into a rather strong man despite his flaws, but he didn’t just use it to make his life easier for himself, but also to make other people’s lives miserable.

For the majority of his life, Gary relied on a wheelchair, but he also learned to use his strength to pull himself across the floor with impressive strength. Grady’s strength would grow as he grew older, which would cost his family later in life.

Meeting the Love of his life

Mary Theresa ran away from her old life at the age of 19 to join the carnival, where she strangely felt she belonged the best. Despite the fact that she was surrounded by people with incredible abilities and deformities, this was all normal for her.

Mary Theresa wasn’t there for the same reasons as the performers, but the carnival always needed help to keep the shows running. Grady Stiles first met her here.

Mary, unlike others, did not see Grady as a monster; instead, she fell in love with him and married him soon after. They had two children together and, like his father before him, included children with ectrodactyly in the family business.

Grady brought his children into his sideshow with him as an act known as the Lobster Family; money was not one of the family’s many problems. Grady was considered the show’s main star, and the family would earn $50,000-$80,000 per season.

There were no gimmicks or tricks with the lobster family; what the audience saw was what they got.

When winter arrived, the shows shut down, and many of their performers, including the Stiles family, relocated to Florida until the new season began.

Despite the pleasant weather and more free time, Grady did not hesitate to inflict physical and emotional pain on his family.

If Many had known what she knew after marrying Grady when she was younger, it might have made a difference.

If Many only had known when she was younger what she knew after marrying Grady, perhaps it would have made a difference.

The Becoming of a Monster

Grady was the best anyone could be, a truly honorable man, but as soon as he poured the liquor into his body, something within his mind changed, and he would abandon a nobleman to a harsh spouse and father. He grew into a much more frightening man, a true beast, more notable than the one others thought he was. He was a true nightmare come true.

Marry was deeply impacted in ways she will never forget. She remembered her husband being a great guy when he woke up at 8:00 a.m., started drinking by 10:00 a.m., and was miserable for the rest of the day.

Grady-Mary’s marriage hit its first end in 1973 when Mary decided she couldn’t take the abuse any longer after Grady launched himself at her, threw her to the ground, ripped her pantyhose, reached his clawed hand and ripped out the intrauterine device, a device used to prevent pregnancy, and used her hands to choke her – something they appeared to be designed to do well.

Mary was so disgusted, horrified, and emotionally wounded that she wisely left him.

Grady began drinking even more after Mary left, and when her teenage daughter, Donna, fell in love with a young man he didn’t approve of, he didn’t take the decision well.

Donna and Jack Lane loved each other and wanted to marry, but Grady forbade the marriage, threatening to kill Jack several times. Donna was fed up with her alcoholic and abusive father and desired to flee.

Donna told Grady that if he didn’t agree with the underage marriage, she would still live with Jack. Grady was enraged even more because he took pride in dominating and controlling his family.

Grady was home when Jack came home to see him the night before Jack and Donna’s wedding, hoping that Grady had changed his mind and was now happy with our marriage.

Rather than agreeing, Stiles pulled out his shotgun and murdered his daughter’s fiancé in cold blood. He sat there as his daughter approached and said, ‘I told you I’d kill him.’

The Trial

Grady went to trial, where the defense attempted to persuade the jury to feel sorry for Grady and his situation. Grady had an unfortunate life that drove him to drinking and violence due to the constant struggles he faced, according to the defense.

Grady even managed to cry in court when his daughter Donna testified, telling him that “she would see him at his grave.”

Grady was found guilty of third-degree murder by a jury after three hours of deliberation. Grady received a sentence of 15 years, but not in prison, but on probation.

The state believed that their prison system, even in handicap-accessible facilities, was not equipped to handle Grady Stiles’ specific needs: no prison could deal with his handicap, and incarcerating him would be merciless and irregular discipline. He also had liver cirrhosis from drinking and emphysema from long periods of cigarette smoking at this point.

So Grady got to serve his sentence from home, where he continued to drink heavily and beat his children.

Re-Marriage with Mary Theresa

For reasons that no one — either in the Stiles family or outside of it — has been able to understand, his first wife agreed to remarry him in 1989.

Mary, who had previously abandoned Grady, reappeared in his life in 1989 and, surprisingly, forgave the monster for all his wrongdoings.

Grady was decent for a while, but after a while, the monster in him returned to haunt Mary and her children’s lives. The violence erupted once more, as did plenty of sexual assaults.

A few years after remarrying Stiles, she paid her 17-year-old neighbor, Chris Wyant, $1,500 to murder Grady. Glenn, Mary Teresa’s child from a previous marriage, assisted her in imagining the thought and completing the arrangement.

Wyant took a .32 Colt Automatic that a companion had purchased for him one night. He broke into Stiles’ trailer, where Grady was watching television in his underwear, and shot him twice in the back of the head at point-blank range, killing him instantly.

Freedom But with A Cost

Police arrested Mary, her son Harry and the killer Wyant. The jury convicted Wyant of second-degree murder and sentenced him to 27 years in prison.

Mary Teresa Stiles, center, flanked by her children, Grady Stiles III, left, and Cathy Stiles Berry, is shown as she leaves a courthouse in Tampa, Florida on July 18, 1994. (Credit:AP)

Not one of them denied that they had intended to kill Grady Stiles. During the trial, his wife spoke at length about his abusive history. “My husband was going to kill my family,” she told the court, “I believe that from the bottom of my heart.”

Unfortunately for Mary’s child Glenn, self-defense isn’t applicable when hiring a hitman and Glenn was convicted of first-degree murder and was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

At least one of their children, Cathy, testified against him as well.

Mary was also charged with first-degree murder and her conviction was reduced to manslaughter and she was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

She unsuccessfully appealed her conviction and began to serve her sentence in February of 1997. She had tried to get Glenn to take a plea bargain but he refused. The court sentenced him to life in prison.

Just as a significant portion of his living family was being tried for his murder, Grady Stiles’ body was put to rest. Or unrest, as it were: Lobster Boy was so disliked, not just in his family but within the community, that the funeral home could not find anyone willing to be pallbearers.

Fred Rosen wrote a book on the case called Lobster Boy: The Bizarre Life and Brutal Death of Grady Stiles Jr., and E! made a True Hollywood Story episode based on the case titled “The Murder of Lobster Boy”. A&E Network also made a City Confidential episode based on the case called “Gibsonton: The Last Side Show”.

A person like Grady, going by the name of “Lobster Boy”, appears in a Deadpool comic. Deadpool was hired to assassinate him but fails when he figures out he is possessed by Xaphan, a fallen angel, and starts possessing the souls. He was later saved by the two Ghost Riders, but in the end, is shot again in the head by Deadpool for being cruel to other freaks.

Now that you’ve read about the Killer Lobster Boy, you might also like to read about the Cults that Killed People and then read about The horrifying cases investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren including the doll that killed.

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