How a Circus Performer Grady Stiles Jr. went from performing a simple act of Circus the committing a murder: The Killer Lobster Boy.
The Stiles family was suffering for a peculiar physical condition known as Ectrodactyly, which is a rare congenital deformity that makes the hand look like lobster claws as the middle fingers are either missing or seemingly fused to the thumb or pinky finger.
The family has been afflicted for over a century with ectrodactyly, a condition commonly known as the Lobster claw. It is an uncommon inherent distortion of the hand where the center digit is missing and the hand is parted where the metacarpal of the finger ought to be.
This split regularly gives the hands the presence of lobster hooks in spite of the fact that cases run in seriousness. Frequently this condition happens in both the hands and the feet and, while it is an acquired condition, it can skirt an age. While the term ectrodactyly sounds medicinally clean when contrasted with ‘Lobster Claw Syndrome’.
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.
But one member from the family, Grady stiles Jr., would give the Stiles’ family a different reputation when he became a serial abuser and murderer.
The home of Gardy Stiles, or popularly known as the lobster boy was an unpleasant place to be. During the carnival season in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Grady was one of the many sideshow performers who people came to gawk at some time in wonder and sometimes out of rudeness.
Gary Stiles Jr. Becomes Lobster Boy
Grady never concerned himself too much with the opinions of onlookers, he was only there to put on a show, his audience was impressed or not. Grady was born with a severe deformity that gave him the name, The Lobster Boy.
Lobster Boy was born in Pittsburgh in 1937, at that point his father was already part of the “freak show” circuit, adding his kids with the peculiar physical condition to the act.
Because of the deformity Grady couldn’t walk and was confined to a wheelchair, his legs were almost flipper-like and unable to bear weight this resulted in him using his upper body to maneuver around usually in a wheelchair.
All of the locomotion provided by his arms turned Grady into a rather strong man despite his downfalls but he didn’t only utilize his to make his life easier for himself but also to make other’s life harder.
For most of his life, Gary primarily used a wheelchair — but also learned to use his power to use his upper body to pull himself across the floor with impressive strength.
As Grady grew up he would become immensely strong, something which will cost his family later in life.
Meeting the Love of his life
At age 19 Mary ran off to join the carnival, escaping her old life, oddly enough she felt she belonged best there. Despite the fact that she was surrounded by people with shocking abilities and deformities but for her this was normal.
Mary Theresa wasn’t there for the same reasons the performers were but the carnival always needed staff to keep the shows running. It was here that she met Grady Stiles.
Mary Theresa didn’t saw the monster in Grady as others had, she quickly fell in love with Grady and the two were married within no time. Together they had two children and, like his father before him, introduced the children with ectrodactyly to the family business.
Grady added his children into his sideshow with him traveling as an act known as the Lobster Family, of the many issues that were in the family, money wasn’t one of them. The family would make $50,000-$80,000 per season and Grady was considered the major star of the show.
There were no gimmicks with the lobster family no tricks or illusions, What the crowd saw is what the crowd got.
Once the winter set in the show’s closed down and many of their performers including the Stiles family resided in Florida until the new season came around.
Despite the pleasant weather and more free time, Grady still didn’t hesitate to inflict physical and emotional pain on his family.
If Many only would have known when she was younger what she knew after marrying Grady perhaps it would have made a difference.
The Becoming of a Monster
Mary recollected that Grady was the best anybody could be, a genuinely honorable man however as soon he poured the liquor in his body, something in his brain exchanged and he would abandon a nobleman to a harsh spouse and father. He turned into a lot more alarming man, a genuine beast, more noteworthy than the one others considered him to be. He was a real nightmare come to life.
Marry was impacted in ways that she would never forget. She remembered that her husband was a great guy when he woke up in the morning by 8:00 am and start drinking by 10 and would be miserable for the rest of the day.
In 1973, Grady-Mary’s marriage hit its first end when Mary decided that she couldn’t take the abuse any longer after Grday launched himself at her, took her to the floor, 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 were seemingly designed to do well.
Mary was so disgusted, horrified, and emotionally wounded that she wisely left him.
The worst was yet to come after Mary was gone, Grady started drinking even more and when her teenage daughter, Donna fell in love with a young man that he didn’t approve of, he didn’t take the decision very well.
Donna and Jack Lane were in loved and wanted to marry but Grady forbade the marriage threatening to kill Jack numerous times. Donna was unhappy with her drunk and abusive father and wanted an escape.
Donna told Grady that if he didn’t approve the underage marriage, she would live with Jack anyway. This further enraged Grady who prided himself in the way he dominated his family and controlled them.
Grady was home when Jack came home to see him on the night before Jack and Donna were to be married, thinking that maybe Grady has changed his mind and is now happy with our marriage.
Instead of agreeing, Stiles picked up his shotgun and murdered his daughter’s fiance in cold blood. HE sat there while his daughter came and said ‘I told you I would kill him.’
Grady went to trial where the defense attempted to get the jury to pity Grady and his condition. The defense played heavily into the fact that Grady had an unfortunate life driven to drinking and violence by the incessant struggles he faced.
Grady even managed to shed some tears in the courtroom, his daughter Donna took the stand and told him that “she would see him at his grave.”
The jury took three hours in deciding that Grady was guilty of third-degree-murder, Grady received a sentence of 15 years but not in prison but 15 years of probation.
The state believed that their prison system even in their handicap accessible facilities weren’t equipped to handle the specific need to Grady Stiles: no prison could deal with his handicap and to restrict him to jail would be merciless and irregular discipline. He additionally, at this point, had procured liver cirrhosis from drinking and had emphysema from long stretches of cigarette smoking.
So Grady got to serve his sentence form 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 left Grady earlier came back in his life again in 1989 and surprisingly enough forgave the monster for all his wrongdoings.
As earlier Grady was decent for a while but after some time the monster in him came back to haunt the lives of Mary and her children. The violence surged back to the surface as did copious amounts of sexual assault.
A couple of years after she remarried Stiles, she paid her 17-year-old neighbor, Chris Wyant, $1,500 to murder him. Mary Teresa’s child from another marriage, Glenn, helped her imagine the thought and complete the arrangement.
One night, Wyant took a .32 Colt Automatic he had a companion buy for him. He went into Stiles’ trailer, Grady was watching television in his underwear, Wyant put 2 round in the back of his head at the point-clear 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.
Not one of them denied that they had intended to kill Grady Stiles. During the trial, his wife spoke at length of 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 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 at 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.