Antone Charles “Tony” Costa, the serial-killing carpenter whose string of murders attracted international attention, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 2, 1944.
Costa was accused of killing four women—Susan Perry, Sydney Monzon, Patricia Walsh, and Mary Anne Wysocki—in Truro, Cape Cod in 1969. Perry's remains were found on February 8, while police were searching for the the bodies of Walsh and Wysocki. Perry's body had been cut into eight pieces.
A month later, police found the head and torso of Wysocki in a nearby forest clearing. Investigators then found Walsh’s body. Both women had been mutilated with a knife, although they had apparently died from gunshot wounds. Then they also found the corpse of Sidney Monzon. Walsh and Wysocki had both been shot in the head.
The case started making headlines after District Attorney Edmund Dinis made a statement to the media saying that “the hearts of each girl had been removed from the bodies and were not in the graves ... Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints.”
Media outlets in search of lurid headlines gave Costa nicknames like “Cape Cod Casanova” and “Chop Chop”. When asked by a reporter if the killer was a “Cape Cod vampire,” Dinis answered in the affirmative. He also claimed that teethmarks and other signs of cannibalism had been found.
However, many of the comments were untrue or heavily exaggerated. The hearts of the victims had not been removed, and although some organs were missing from at least one of the bodies, no cutting devices had been found.
Police knew that the clearing where they had found the bodies was Tony Costa's personal marijuana garden, positioning him as a key suspect. Additionally, at the time of his arrest, Costa already had a violent criminal past. In November 1961, when he was 16, he had been arrested after trying to assault a teenage girl. He was convicted of burglary and assault, and given a one-year suspended sentence.
Two years later, Costa married, eventually fathering three children, but his marriage reportedly fell apart due to drug use. In 1966, he picked up two young women named Bonnie Williams and Diane Federoff and promised to take them to Pennsylvania on his way to California. They never made it, and he later told police that he had dropped them off in California. Investigators also believe that while he was living in San Francisco, Costa murdered his girlfriend Barbara Spaulding.
Upon returning to Massachusetts, Costa stole $5,000 worth of surgical and medical equipment. A week later, Sydney Monzon disappeared—and shortly after that, 17-year-old Susan Perry vanished.
After the bodies were discovered, media outlets descended on the small Massachusetts hamlet. Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., whose daughter Edith met Costa, compared him to Charles Manson in his collection of essays. Vonnegut said of his correspondence with Costa: “The message of his letters to me was that a person as intent on being virtuous as he could not possibly have hurt a fly.” Although Vonnegut did not believe Costa, the killer certainly believed his own words.
Costa wrote an unpublished novel while in prison that described the murders of Walsh and Wysocki. In it, he claimed that he and a friend named Carl were out with the two women consuming a variety of drugs, including LSD, when Carl shot Walsh and Wysocki.
Costa then claimed that after realizing that Wysocki was still alive, he decided to “end her suffering” with a knife—and that he and Carl buried the bodies. Costa claimed that Susan Perry and Sydney Monzon died due to drug overdoses, and Carl dismembered and buried their bodies.
In May of 1970, Costa was arraigned for three of the murders and convicted for the murder of Wysocki and Walsh. He was sentenced to life in prison at Massachusetts’ Walpole Correctional Institution. Four years into his sentence, Costa committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. Some experts believe that Costa could be responsible for as many as seven or eight murders.
Costa’s “garden” in the Truro woods has become a morbid tourist attraction. To this day, nearly 50 years later, it continues to attract visitors in search of spooky sites.
This Story Was First Published on Crime Feed.