Florida’s True Crime Tale: The Tragic End of ‘Lobster Boy’ Killer

Due to his uncommon congenital deformity called ectrodactyly, which caused his hands and feet to resemble lobster claws, Grady Stiles Jr., popularly known as the “Lobster Boy,” was well-known on the carnival circuit. Stiles, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1937, was the sixth member of his family to be born with this disability. He performed as part of the “Lobster Family” act on tour, accompanied by his two children who also had the illness.

But when Stiles turned into a serial killer and abuser, his life took a terrible turn. On the eve of their daughter’s wedding in 1979, he killed Jack Layne, her 20-year-old fiancé. Stiles’s life problems and bad health, including liver disease and emphysema, won the jurors over despite his violent deed. After being found guilty of third-degree murder, he was given a relatively lenient sentence of 15 years.

Florida's True Crime Tale The Tragic End of 'Lobster Boy' Killer (1)

Stiles was murdered in November of 1992. Harry Newman, Mary Stiles’s son, hired Christopher Wyant, a local hitman, to kill Stiles following a fight with his wife. At Gibsonton, Florida, the 55-year-old performer was shot and killed by the 19-year-old Wyant for a sum of $1,500.

Wyant received a 27-year prison term after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Being a carnival performer himself, Newman was found guilty of first-degree murder and given a life sentence without the possibility of release. Because of her involvement in the murder, Mary Stiles received a 12-year sentence. The jury determined that the groups were not in danger when Stiles was slain, notwithstanding their claims of self-defense.

Nobody wanted to carry Stiles’ casket at his funeral since he was so despised in his community. His demise and existence serve as a somber reminder of the negative aspects of the carnival industry. His tale, which stands in sharp contrast to the sparkle and glamour sometimes connected to the carnival way of life, never ceases to frighten and intrigue.

This is so strange. It was murdered a child years ago.

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