Killer Carnies on ID follows the case of Grady Stiles Jr, aka Lobster Boy, who was a freak show performer who murdered his son in law to be. However, after serving his time, he too was shot dead in Gibsonton, Florida, in 1992.
Grady Stiles Jr was the sixth generation of his family born with ectrodactyly, a congenital disorder that left him with two-fingered hands and stunted, footless legs that resembled claws. He had the stage name Lobster Boy, and he toured with his two children who also suffered from the same condition.
In his private life, Stiles was allegedly a hugely unpopular figure within his community and among the other carnival performers. His son has called him an abusive racist. He would verbally abuse people, and occasionally he would turn violent head butting his victims or choking them with his claw-like hands.
In 1979, he went too far when he murdered the 20-year-old fiance of his daughter, Jack Layne. Stiles shot the young man dead on the day before he was due to be married.
Stiles garnered a lot of sympathy from the jury for his life struggles coupled with his poor health; the prolific drinker and smoker was suffering from liver disease and emphysema. He was convicted of third-degree murder and received a relatively light sentence of 15 years.
Grady Stiles, aka Lobster Boy, became a murder victim
In November 1992, Stiles was murdered in his home in Gibsonton, Florida. He had been arguing with his wife, Mary Stiles, and after Mary later commented that “something had to be done,” her son Harry Newman hired local hitman, Christopher Wyant.
For a fee of $1,500, the 19-year-old Wyant shot dead the 55-year-old performer. Wyant was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Newman, who was himself a carnival performer, was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His mother, Mary Stiles, was sentenced to 12 years for her role in the murder. Both defendants had tried to claim self-defense, but the jury decided that they were not at risk when Stiles was shot.
Grady Stiles was so disliked within his community that nobody wanted to be his pallbearer at his funeral.
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Killer Carnies airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.