Homicide Worldwide Podcast

Grady Stiles Jr. "Lobster Boy" Ep 085

August 18, 2022 Homicide Worldwide Season 2 Episode 85
Homicide Worldwide Podcast
Grady Stiles Jr. "Lobster Boy" Ep 085
Show Notes

Grady Franklin Stiles Jr. (6/26/1937 – 11/29/1992) was an American freak show performer and murderer. His deformity was the genetic condition ectrodactyly, in which the fingers and toes are fused together to form claw-like extremities. Because of this, Stiles performed under the stage name "Lobster Boy".
According to Grady's father, the Stiles family had a long history of ectrodactyly, dating back to 1840. Grady Stiles Jr. was the fourth child of Grady F. Stiles Sr. and his wife Edna. Capitalizing on his deformity, Grady Stiles Sr. was a sideshow attraction in a traveling carnival. After Grady Jr. was born he was folded into his father's sideshow act at the age of seven.[1] Stiles married twice and had four children, two of whom also had ectrodactyly. Stiles and his two children toured together as The Lobster Family. When not traveling with the carnival, the Stiles family lived in Gibsonton, Florida, where many other carnival performers lived during the winter season.
Stiles was an alcoholic and was abusive to his family. Due to his ectrodactyly, he was unable to walk. While he sometimes used a wheelchair, he most commonly used his hands and arms for locomotion. He developed substantial upper body strength that, when combined with his bad temper and alcoholism, made him dangerous to others.

In 1978 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Stiles shot and killed his oldest daughter's fiancé on the eve of their wedding. He was brought to trial, where he openly confessed to killing the man and was convicted of third-degree murder. He was not sent to prison as no state institution was equipped to care for an inmate with ectrodactyly. Stiles was instead sentenced to house arrest and fifteen years probation.

Stiles stopped drinking thereafter, and during this period remarried his first wife, Mary Teresa. However, he soon began drinking again and his family claimed that he became even more abusive. In 1992, Teresa, together with her son from a previous marriage, Harry Glenn Newman Jr., hired a seventeen-year-old sideshow performer named Chris Wyant to kill Stiles for $1500 dollars . Wyant was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison. Harry Newman was given life in prison for his role as the mastermind and Teresa was given 43 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.
Stiles' son, Grady Stiles III, disputes the claim that Teresa had him murdered. According to him, his mother, Teresa, and father were arguing. Teresa had said 'Something needs to be done.' Teresa's son overheard this, and went to a neighbor and repeated those words. Shortly after this happened, as Stiles smoked a cigarette while watching television on the sofa, the neighbor entered his home with a semi-automatic pistol and shot him in the head twice, killing him. Stiles was hated so much by the local community that only 10 people came to his funeral, and nobody volunteered as a pallbearer to carry his coffin.

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