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Hello and welcome everyone to Okie Investigations. My name is Trevor Shelby. The Spooky times are here, and that means we are telling Haunted stories once again.
But seriously, thank you all for joining us for our 2021 Spookytime Episodes. It’s October, and I’m ready to tell a few more spooky stories from my home state and perhaps elsewhere.
Hello everyone, and welcome to Forgotten True Crime by Okie Investigations, the True Crime Podcast where we tell the stories of crimes that happened long ago. If you are a true crime fan, make sure you subscribe to the podcast. That way, when we have new episodes, you will be the first to know. Also, check us out on our Facebook page Okie Investigations and visit our blog TrueCrime.Blog where we post a lot of the cool things we found for each episode. This episode, “The Real Candy Man,” has a lot of cool stuff on it that I think you all will like.
Parts of this story may contain opinions and speculations and should be taken as such. These stories depict violent crimes of all types and may be a trigger for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.
Hello everyone, I hope you all are having a spooky weekend. This is our last 2021 Halloween episode, and it’s the one that I have wanted to cover for a real long time. Halloween is such an exceptional time for kids. It marks the first of many Holidays to quickly come. You get to dress up, run around town and get tons of free candy. But this story is about someone who took advantage of all of that, someone who decided to take everything unique for trick or treaters and stomp it out as if it were the perfect opportunity for murder.
Have you ever had your parents go through your candy before you are allowed to eat it? Did they check it for signs of tampering? My parents did, and it was because of this case that they feared that someone would be trying to drug or poison me. For my own kids, I always checked their candy, but it was because I was collecting the “Dad Tax” and getting my hard-earned 10% of the spoils.
Our story began on October 31st, 1974.
This Halloween was going to be special for 8-year-old Timothy O’Bryan. He was going to get to go trick or treating with his friends and his sister. The two families had planned an outing with their fathers, and they agreed to take them over to Pasadena, Texas, where they were told the best candy was passed out to kids in costume.
After school, Timothy waited for his father to get off of work. Both Timothy and his sister Elizabeth eagerly awaited his arrival. Dark clouds started moving in, and the sky got a little darker early that evening. When Ronald O’Bryan pulled into the driveway from work, he was greeted by both children in costume, ready for an evening of fun.
The first thing on their agenda was they had planned on going to the Bates residence. Jimmy Bates had prepared a dinner for the two families. Jimmy also had two eager children, ready to go trick or treating. When the O’Bryan’s arrived, the two families sat down to dinner together. Little did they know, for one of them, it would be their last meal.
As the two families wrapped up dinner and began to put away plates, the dark skies got darker, and it began to rain. This is not unusual for texas. Rain can move in, and then minutes later, it’ll sometimes clear up. But for one of the Bates children, it was too much. They decided to stay home for the night.
Because they didn’t know what the rain was going to be quite like, Ronald O’Bryan and Jimmy Bates decided to limit the trick or treating to two streets. They agreed that Citation Street and Donerail Street would be the best ones to go down.
Ronald and the kids would go to each door at each house, and Jimmy would wait at the sidewalk. As they went up Donerail street, they came upon house number 4112. The front porch lights were off, but the kids had gone up to knock on the door anyway. Ronald walked up to the kids, and the kids soon ran off when no one answered the door. Ronald stayed behind and then rejoined Jimmy at the sidewalk. Ronald was swinging five giant Pixy Styx tube candy in the air. He told Jimmy that the rich neighbors were handing out expensive treats.
They fished walking the two streets and then returned to the Bates home. There, Ronald handed out the giant candies to each of the children. A trick or treater came to the door at this moment, and it was a child that Jimmy knew from church. They also gave them one of the Pixy Styx tube candies.
The O’Bryan family then started on their way home. Their mother left to visit with a friend, so it was up to Ronald to get everyone in and ready for bed. It was getting late, and it was a school night. The kids were excited about their candy, so Ronald allowed them to pick one candy they could have before bedtime.
Timothy picked the large Pixy Styx as his choice. Ronald helped him open the candy, and Timothy lifted the tube to his mouth, but nothing would come out. He handed it back to his father, who rolled the tube in his hand to loosen the candy so it would come out easier. This time, Timothy got to eat some of the candy. But he immediately didn’t like it. He told his father that it tasted terrible.
So, Ronald grabbed a glass of kool-aid and let Timothy take a drink to get the flavor out of his mouth. Shortly after, Timothy began to get really sick. He started to throw up, and Ronald took him into the bathroom. As he did so, Timothy started to become unresponsive and began to go into convulsions.
Ronald quickly dialed 911, and an ambulance was to their house within minutes. They had been parked nearby, and this was considered an excellent response time. They got Timothy to the Southmore Hospital, but it was too late. By 10:40 pm, Timothy died for what was, for now, an unknown reason.
It didn’t take doctors long to figure out what had happened. From what Ronald could tell them, they knew it sounded like Timothy was somehow poisoned, and the likely source was the candy they received while trick or treating. The doctors examined Timothy’s stomach contents and found 16 milligrams of cyanide. His blood had absorbed .4 milligrams. A fatal dose is .2 and .3 milligrams.
While at the hospital, Ronald also got sick on two occasions but refused to be examined. He did tell them that they got the candy in Pasadena, Texas, where the Bates family lived.
The police response was swift here. They gathered up all the known candy from the O’Bryan home and the Bates home. They also got the candy from the trick or treater who came by and was also given a giant Pixy Styx. All of these were handed over to Dr. Jachimczyk, who was a medical examiner. The doctor tested Timothy’s candy, and there were no traces of the poison, but it was missing the amount already eaten. He then tested the first few inches of the other tubes, and each of them contained a fatal dose of cyanide.
The police again made a quick response. Police Lt. Goad asked that all families that trick or treated on Citation Street and Donerail Street turn in their candy to the police station.
This would be hard for me to do as a kid. At 8 years old, I would have been devastated to turn in all of my candy. I really hope all of the kids that did get a special candy reward for doing so.
On November 1st, the day after Timothy’s murder, Ronald had his first meeting with the funeral director. Ronald informed him that he would need copies of the death certificate to give to the insurance agency, one for each policy. When asked how many did he need, Ronald said, “I need six copies.”
The shock of the residents of Citation and Donerail Street was intense. This was a tight-knit community, the kind of place where everyone knew each other. Many of the residents refused to believe that one of their own was capable of doing something so horrible. But as the days went on, each of them cooperated with police when they came knocking on their doors to ask questions.
Many detectives worked around the clock on this case, and many were working on their days off. They had mapped the two streets and made a plan to interview everyone they could to find a break in the case. Detective Turnipseed and Police Captian Rhodes were convinced that the person who handed out the candy lived on these streets.
Ronald also helped with this effort. It took him a while to figure it out. He still appeared very grief-stricken, but in the end, he located the house that gave him the candy. Ronald stated that a man who lived there handed out the candy by opening the door slightly and then handing him the 5 large tubes. He only knew it was a man because the arm was very hairy. So now the police had a suspect to look into.
But, it wouldn’t be long before a concerning phone call would alert police to another suspect.
The life insurance agency had received the death certificates for Timothy. An agent there decided to call the police and let them know about the policies and how they found them suspicious.
You see, Ronald began opening them months ago. Each time he opened another, the life insurance agency would protest and tell Ronald that they were well covered and he was only wasting his money. But he would demand that they allow him the extra policy’s and they would eventually let him open another.
To detectives, this was a major red flag. The second thing that alerted police to suspicious activity was finding no one on those two streets who were handing out expensive candy-like giant Pixy Styx’s. Days after the incident, it was only those 5 handed out by Ronald that were ever found.
Going along with this new suspect in the case, Detectives questioned Jimmy Bates, who was with Ronald. They didn’t know if he was involved in this as well. Jimmy turned out to be very cooperative with the police. He told them that when Ronald came up with the Pixy Styx’s, he never saw anyone open the door. Jimmy thought it was odd at the time, but he was also watching the kids run to the next house. He also told the police that Ronald was putting on a show in public by acting sad, but in private, he had been planning on going on trips with the life insurance money.
Police also started looking into the mysterious man who lived at house 4112. They found that the man who lived there was actually pretty well known. He was an air traffic controller, and he had been working on Halloween. He didn’t get off of work until after 10 pm and was not at his house. Many people who he worked with also confirmed his story.
The police got a search warrant for Ronald O’Bryan’s home. When they served the warrant, they were able to find a pair of scissors and a knife that had what they believed to be Pixy Styx candy on it and residue from the waxy plastic container. They took this to their lab who ran tests on the evidence they found, but they were inconclusive.
Police believed they had what they needed at this time to make an arrest. On November 5th, just days after his son’s passing, Ronald O’Bryan was charged with the murder of Timothy O’Bryan. This was a massive shock to the community. The residents in Pasadena were somewhat relieved, knowing that the killer wasn’t one of their neighbors.
Ronald’s wife denied knowing anything about her husband’s plans. There was no evidence that she had a hand in any part of it. It was thought that Ronald believed that he could trick her, and she would believe anything he said, but she ended up being a much more intelligent woman than that, and at the Trial for Ronald, she testified against him. He never told her about the life insurance policies. This is something that you would share with your spouse.
During the trial, we found out that Ronald had openly talked to others about how to obtain cyanide and its effects. He even went as far as trying to purchase some, but they only sold it by the pound, and he didn’t need that much.
With all of the evidence presented against him, Ronald still proclaimed his innocence.
When the jury received the case, they came back with a verdict within 46 minutes. They found Ronald O’Bryan guilty of murder. Ronald was sentenced to death.
Ronald would sit on Death Row until 1984. On March 31st, Ronald was led into the death chamber. He would die by lethal injection. Ronald’s last words were to state that the death penalty was wrong and that he forgave everyone who had a hand in his death.
They began to give him the lethal drugs at 12:38 am, and he was pronounced dead at 12:48 am.
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You all have a wonderful week, see ya!