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True crime. Casually done.

Glennon Engleman: Dentist by Day, Hitman by Night

“It takes a certain kind of person to be able to kill another human being.”

Those words ring true, but those kinds of people are often the ones we would least suspect. Case in point: the man who that quote belongs to — Glennon Engleman, aka the ‘Killer Dentist’. On this show, we’ve covered plenty of gangland hitmen, twisted sexual predators, and mad cult leaders — that’s all par for the course with true crime. 

But Glennon himself stands out from the lot, specifically because he doesn’t really stand out. Few expected that this unassuming St Louis man would actually turn out to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the city’s history. From the 1950s to the 1980s, he lived a shocking double life, filling in cavities during the day, and moonlighting as a semi-pro hitman.

Now, a lot of you probably already assume that your dentist is an evil sadist, but Engleman was on another level. Death-dealing was his greatest passion, and he took great glee in executing carefully calculated plots that left the police scratching their heads in confusion. 

Today we’ll be looking into the deadly dentist’s twisted genius, and how his murderous bravado eventually got the better of him…

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Deadly Gold Digging

On September 5th 1976, newly married dental nurse Carmen (24) was walking through a countryside park near Pacific, Missouri with her husband Peter Halm (26). The young couple were on their way to a car show at the Six Flags theme park, when they decided to stop off and explore some of the caves dotted around the area.

The fields and glades were mostly empty that day, bar the odd family out for Sunday walk. Carmen and Peter made their way to a secluded area in the middle of the park: a pond tucked away in a clearing. As they stood on the banks, looking out over the water, the tranquil ambience was interrupted by a loud crack — a bullet ripped through the air, pierced Peter’s back, and sent a spray of red mist out from his chest. 

A family walking nearby came running when they heard Carmen’s screams, and found her husband bleeding out on the floor. Not knowing what to do, she ran off down the path, back towards the car park. The family did their best to save Peter, but it was hopeless — he was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

When the police scoured the scene later that day, they discovered a 6mm rifle with a telescopic sight, buried under a pile of leaves about 50m from the body. At first, they theorised that it might have been an accident; the area was well known as a popular spot for target shooters. 

Remington Model 722A rifle chambered for .244 (6mm) manufacture date 1955
Remington Model 722A rifle chambered for .244 (6mm) manufacture date 1955. By Trhao, is licensed under CC-BY-SA

But then another wanderer who was there that day reported a curious little detail: as Carmen ran back towards the road in hysterics, she was intercepted by a man, who burst out from between the trees. The passerby called out, just in case she was in trouble, and the man disappeared back into the woods.

Who was this mystery figure, and why did he reveal himself to the victim’s wife that day?

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I won’t leave you hanging to find out: it was our guy, Glennon Engleman. He was the one who fired the shot from the bushes, which passed just inches past the dead man’s heart. So why was he comfortable showing his face to the soon-to-be widow that day? Well, he and she were already well acquainted.

In fact, the two had been working together on this murder plot since before she and her husband even met! It all began when she started working alongside our deadly dentist at his clinic on the southside of St Louis. She had known Engleman for most of her life, and he was her first boss while she trained for her dental nursing qualifications. 

Despite being a 3/10 at absolute best, Glennon saw himself as a ladies’ man, and prided himself on being able to bring women — especially young, attractive ones — under his control. At this point Carmen was in her early twenties, and he was pushing fifty, but it’s thought they started a sexual relationship at the office. (I’m hoping they sterilised the dental chair afterwards…)

Couple his ladies’ man person with his love for firearms, and it’s clear that Engleman thought himself a bit of a James Bond type character. When his latest Moneypenny worked with him at the clinic, she was still called  by her maiden name, Carmen Miranda (not the one with the fruit hats), as she hadn’t found a man to settle down with yet. 

One day she came into the clinic complaining of financial problems, and Engleman made her a proposal. No, not a marriage proposal (he was already married to his third wife). Although, his idea did include a marriage.

The dentist’s idea was that Carmen should find a good, honest, hard-working bloke to marry… so that he could murder him in cold blood for the life insurance payout. Probably not the advice the young nurse was expecting, but after a bit of trepidation she began to come round to the notion. On the one had, she would be making herself a co-conspirator in a horrible, cynical murder, but on the other hand, money is quite nice

As for the practicalities, Engleman told her not to worry: he had done this kind of thing before, with zero issues.After a bit more convincing, she was fully on board. Engleman talked her through the kind of guy she should be looking for. I’m not sure what criteria he laid out, but if I had to guess: someone with a tolerable personality (she would be spending quite a while with him, after all), someone young (the older you are, the lower the insurance payout), and someone trusting enough to be easily manipulated. 

They then spent the following months whittling through a long list of eligible bachelors from Carmen’s personal life. I’ve had some grim episodes in my romantic life, but imagine finally bucking up the courage to ask out the woman of your dreams, and she’s just planning on having her pervy old boss assassinate you for a few grand. That’s the miserable situation that Peter unwittingly found himself in when he and Carmen started dating in 1975.

They were married within the year, and Carmen quit her job at Engleman’s clinic to avoid arousing suspicion. The two kept in close contact, with her older lover instructing her on how to go about taking out life insurance policies on her new husband. Meanwhile, she had to keep up the facade of a happy, healthy marriage — a fake double life that her partner thought was the reality.

After about six months of fake marital bliss, the deadly gold digger and her murder coach started phase three: the assassination itself. Engleman had his accomplice Robert Handy (the Q to his Bond) procure the rifle on the black market, meaning it couldn’t be traced back to him.

Then he and Carmen scouted out several locations around Missouri where Engleman could take the shot and make a quick getaway. On two separate occasions, he even had the target in his sights, but had to keep his finger off the trigger, when the arrival of potential witnesses ruined the opportunities.

Third time’s a charm though. After settling on the park for this try, Glennon and Carmen went there for a dry run a few days before the planned date. He gave explicit instructions on where and how they should stand, so he could pull off the kill with minimal risk. You’ve already seen what came next. 

Engleman lay in the bushes and blasted a hole through the innocent man’s chest. Theory is one thing, but practice is another entirely: perhaps the reality of actually seeing her husband shot dead was too much for Carmen. As she ran off, Engleman thought she might be coming down with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. He showed himself for just a second to make sure she didn’t blow the whole thing.

After that, Carmen managed to play the role of damsel in distress to a T. While Engleman made his escape, she went to flag down help from a passing car, and brought the paramedics to the scene. Then, after it was over, she waited long enough to avoid suspicion, and collected $75,000 from her late husband’s insurance policies (about $350k in today’s money).

About six months after the killing, the triggerman got his cut: a modest $10k for his troubles, delivered by Carmen’s brother (who was in on the plan). She received all the sympathy of a grieving widow, and he returned to his dental practice, satisfied with another job well done. 

Any question marks left hanging over the death of Peter Halm in the minds of the investigators would remain unanswered, for now…

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License to Drill

But before we deal with what came next, a bit of background. What exactly drove an innocent, everyday hitman to pursue the sadistic career path of dentistry? His biography doesn’t offer many clues: no trauma, no mental health issues, nothing beyond the suggestion that he was maybe just born this way.

Glennon Engleman was born to a working class family in St Louis in 1927. An average student throughout education, he went on to serve in the armed forces, and had his college dunked through the GI bill.

St. Louis on the Mississippi river by night
St. Louis on the Mississippi river by night. By Daniel Schwen, is licensed under CC-BY-SA

He graduated with a degree in dentistry from Washington University in 1954, and returned to St Louis to set up his own dental practice. Engleman soon became known as a pillar of the community, offering out free dental care to the disadvantaged, and generally being a stand-up guy. 

But behind this public persona was a hidden self. Cheery, unassuming Glenn was a self-admitted sociopath, who relished the idea of outwitting the police and killing without remorse. And when you have zero regard for the sanctity of life, what’s a life insurance policy but a bounty on a person’s head? 

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As far as we know, the idea for homicidal insurance fraud first struck Glenn back in the late fifties. That was when he and his first wife Ruth, the mother to his only child, got divorced after three years of marriage. After the split, they stayed on good terms, and continued a casual sexual relationship.

As I mentioned before, sex is a recurring theme in many of Engleman’s crimes. The New York Daily News reported that he had a ‘hypnotic’ hold over women, and used his animal magnetism to draw them into his plots. Again, I cannot stress enough how little his mugshots convey this supposed irresistibility. I guess it just proves that confidence is key.

But it wasn’t enough to hold the relationship together: eventually Ruth went on to remarry, shacking up with a guy called James Bullock. But as you might have already guessed, this entire relationship was engineered by Engleman from the outset, and the clock was ticking for Bullock.

About a year into their marriage, in 1958, the couple were walking near the St Louis Art Museum when Mr Bullock was shot down by a hidden gunman. Of course, Engleman was a suspect in this murder, as spurned ex husbands tend to be. But the cops never found anything to definitively link him to the killing. 

They were also suspicious of Ruth from the outset too, partly because of her reputation as quite an unstable, explosive character. But without any proof, the community rallied behind her, and accused the police of harassing a grieving woman.

So the investigation never came to anything, and Ruth received $64,500 from the life insurance payout. Some time later, she gave an unknown amount to the gunman (it was Glenn, by the way…). 

This was his first recorded murder, and would be far from his last. Glennon Engleman had successfully switched out his dentist’s drill for a hitman’s gun, and reaped the rewards. Afterwards he returned to his day job, maintaining his cover as an unassuming dental practitioner, while secretly mulling over fresh murder plots each and every day.

The satisfaction of that first hit led him to hatch more ambitious, more intricate, and more profitable plans as the years went on.

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The Dentist of Death earned quite a prolific track record in his side gig over the following 20 years. And since a huge part of his motivation was the thrill of clever planning and meticulous execution, he didn’t restrict himself to guns.

His next known kill happened in 1963. By this point, Engleman had spent some of his ill-gotten gains fulfilling a childhood dream: he bought Pacific Drag Strip in Franklin County. After just a few years of operation, the race track proved itself to be a financial disaster for everyone involved. Glennon and his business partners were saddled with high operating costs that sapped away at their savings.

To get out of that rut, the deadly dentist decided to do what he did best. No, not dentistry — he was apparently pretty average at that; he was actually going to murder one of his business partners, and use the proceeds to cut his losses. The target this time was Eric Frey, one of several buddies who chipped in for the investment. 

Apparently everyone back then was just desperate to see their husbands killed, because Mrs Frey eagerly accepted the offer. Seriously, is a divorce plot not a lot smarter? You get half of his stuff with zero risk of jail time. But that was no fun for the murderous mastermind — Glenn was in it for the thrill of the kill, and everything else was secondary.

The fate he dealt Eric was one of the most brutal imaginable. One day Engleman asked for his help blowing up a well on the drag strip property. The plan was to toss half sticks of dynamite down to collapse the hole it in on itself. But when Eric walked to the side of the well and peered down into the depths, Engleman grabbed him by the waist and hoisted him over the edge.

Eric tumbled down to the bottom and landed in a crumpled heap. Before he had time to collect his thoughts, he heard a hissing sound approaching from above — a stick of dynamite landed right next to him. Eric was blown to pieces by the blast, and Glennon went running to tell everyone about the horrible ‘accident’ that just occurred. I’d struggle to imagine a more terrifying way to go.

Engleman’s unlikely story — that Eric fell in by accident and blew himself up — stuck with the insurance investigators, and the death was ruled an accident. Just like the last time, Engleman took his cut from the widow a few months later…

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His Biggest Score Yet

The next confirmed kill was the one we started with: Peter Halm, in 1976, after which Engleman’s confidence as a killer skyrocketed. His next murder plots were the most ambitious yet. 

Despite being married to his third wife, he still couldn’t turn off that superhuman sex appeal, and ended up having an affair with a patient named Barbara Boyle. She became his latest accomplice, and with long-time collaborator John Handy, they started planning another life insurance murder plot. 

This one was to be bigger than ever, because Engleman was desperate for cash to pay off some outstanding debts with the IRS (his past scores were pretty modest, after all, especially since he only took a fraction of the total payouts). To make it worthwhile, they would have to stack up a hefty pile of insurance policies on the next unlucky bachelor. 

This time it was the turn of one Ronald Gusewelle…

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After getting the green light from Glenn, Barbara managed to worm her way into the target’s life, and the two were soon joined in holy matrimony. While poor Ron was enjoying the honeymoon phase, his bride got to work opening 14 separate life insurance policies on him, which is a bit unusual for a 33-year-old man.

With Engleman’s help, she forged her husband’s signature and opened the policies via mail: a cool $190,000 of total value. As they were building up this lucrative bounty, the conspirators discovered something else which sweetened the deal: Ronald’s parents were pretty damn rich.

He and his brother were the heirs to a minor oil fortune, which was worth far more than the insurance money itself. There was just one problem though: the parents weren’t exactly old, and they stubbornly refused to get knocked down dead by a car. Engleman would have to handle them as well, if he wanted his bonus pay. So he set to work scheming on how best to kill Barbara’s new in-laws.

His plan was set in motion in the winter of 1977. Robert Handy picked up Engleman at his house, and drove out to the farmhouse in Madison County where Arthur (61) Vernita (55) Gusewelle lived. They pulled up at the back of the property as the sun was starting to go down, and Handy passed the hitman a briefcase, with a pistol and length of rope inside. 

Engleman slipped on his gloves and straightened his tie. The plan was to impersonate an official from the Farm Bureau, an organisation that the couple themselves were a part of, to gain easy access to their house. He walked up onto their porch and rang the bell. Handy watched from the car as the Gusewelles invited their killer inside. 

They told Enlgleman to take a seat at the kitchen table, where he opened up his briefcase and produced a 22. caliber pistol. He shouted at them to get on the ground so he could tie them up with the rope. But that was never his intention — as soon as they lay down, Engleman shot them both in the back of the head: three times for the wife, twice for the husband. 

We know this happened some time around 6:50pm, because Vernita’s wrist watch stopped at that exact time; her own blood clogged up the mechanism. With the two occupants dealt with, Engleman ran around the house, pulling out drawers and toppling over furniture, to make it look like a robbery gone wrong. 

Handy remained in the car with the engine running, and the two made their getaway less than ten minutes after arriving. It seemed like another clean, calculated, flawless hit from St Louis’ best semi-pro hitman. But it wasn’t quite as successful as it first seemed. 

Amazingly, Arthur wasn’t killed outright. He regained consciousness, and was able to call the emergency services for help after Engleman disappeared. His speech was extremely slurred, on account of the two gunshots to the head, but he managed to explain that “a couple of guys” had robbed him. The paramedics couldn’t get a decent description out of him before he lost consciousness again. 

Arthur eventually succumbed to the wounds just before 9:30pm…

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That was phrase two of the plan done and dusted. Now all that was left was to kill the original target and reap the rewards. Engleman knew he couldn’t rush things though: the only way to avoid suspicion was to spread the plan out over the course of several years, so each of the tragedies looked unconnected.

That meant that Barbara ended up living with Ronald for over a year after her ex-lover murdered his parents. She slept in the same bed as him, helped him grieve the loss, even helped raise his kids (her step kids) when they visited. All with the knowledge that her beloved hubby was next to die — it was only a matter of time before Engleman came knocking.

Fifteen months after his parents were brutally murdered, Ron’s time came. The cold-blooded trio met to discuss Engleman’s plan for the murder, which Handy later described as:

“[G]o in and tie up Barbara like it was a robbery and she was there, and then when Ron came in, he was going to kill Ron like he resisted and throw some furniture around and break some lamps. And then leave Barbara tied up in the bed, and then when the children or somebody come by, she would be found.”

A fake home invasion and sexual assault, to distract from the murder itself. They even discussed leaving Barbara tied up for over a day, and having her soil the bed, just to give it a bit of authenticity. As if the whole thing wasn’t going to be traumatic enough for his kids, can you imagine them being the ones to walk in and find all that!?

Thankfully they binned that plan, as Barbara didn’t particularly like the idea of marinating in her own bodily fluids for 24 hours straight. Instead, they decided to make it look like her husband never made it home at all.

March 31st 1979 was chosen as the fatal day. That evening Engleman drove over to Handy’s place at around 8:30pm, wearing his trademark murder gloves, and packing a pearl-handled .38 handgun. They drove to a shopping centre parking lot, where Barbara picked them up in her own car.

The two guys ducked down low to make it look like only she was in the vehicle as they drove past the other farm houses on the road, and they arrived at her place around 11pm. Ron had been working the evening shift at the Amoco Refinery in the town of Wood River — he left about ten minutes before they got to the house, and would now be well on his way home. 

When the trio pulled up into the garage, Barbara went inside to chill, while Handy and Engleman waited there in the dark. Ten minutes later, they heard a car pulling up outside. The garage door swung open, and the victim took a step inside. Engleman rushed him, firing a shot right into Ronald Gusewelle’s heart. 

The victim staggered back in shock, and Engleman  swung at him with a single-hand sledge hammer, battering his head over and over. Ronald collapsed to the ground, and Engleman delivered the final, fatal blows to the side of his skull.

Hardly the most elegant method, and as you’d expect, it left behind a lot of blood. Engleman shouted at Barbara to clean it up, and she rushed in with some towels to mop up the evidence. Meanwhile, the two men dragged the body into the car in the driveway. 

The next morning at 7am, Barbara called the police to report her husband missing. She told them he never made it home from work the night before. It would be several days yet before they discovered his fate. On April 4th, some witnesses reported an abandoned car by a motel in East St Louis. Police found Ronald’s corpse in the back seat, with a brown garbage bag over his head. 

Aside from the gunshot and head wounds, his ankle had sustained a twisting fracture, from when his body was dragged along the floor. When the officers went to inform Barbara, she had to feign shock, despite the fact she spent the past few days scrubbing her partner’s bloodstains off the garage floor, and painting over the splatters on the walls…

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According to court documents, at the time of his death, Ron was worth around $597,000 (2.5 million dollars today). All of that inheritance seems to have gone to Barbara, along with the $190,000 life insurance payouts. Engleman prudently cut off all contact with her until the payments were finalised, just in case the police got a whiff of foul play.

But the connection didn’t go unnoticed in the early investigation. The cops discovered that Barbara had connections to Engleman, who himself had been implicated in a lot of suspicious events over the years. 

Before that investigation could really build up some steam, a surprise development: some random guy decided to take the blame for killing the Ronald Gusewelle, for seemingly no reason. This was Andre Jones, who was in prison for three unrelated murders at the time. He claimed to have shot Ron dead in a parking lot during a robbery gone wrong.

His motive for taking credit for the death of Ronald isn’t clear in the slightest, but it got Engleman off the hook… for now…

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Dentist of Doom Makes Victim Go Boom

(Please excuse the title, I’m gunning for a side gig at the Sunday Mirror).

Our montage of murders is almost at an end. Engleman had just one more assassination in him before the past came back to haunt him. Once again, this crime began with money problems. By the time he murdered Ronald Gusewelle, Engleman’s third wife (also called Ruth, just like his first) had divorced him. And even after collecting his cut from that last big job, he was still facing difficulties.

The biggest thorn in his side was an outstanding bill from a dental lab in St Louis. He owed them $14.5k in outstanding charges, and the owner Sophie Marie Barrera was keen to collect. She launched a lawsuit against him in the same month that Gusewelle junior was shot dead, putting her right at the top of the dentist’s hit list. His first attempt took place less than two weeks before Ronald was shot dead at his own home.

On March 20th 1979, Barrera spotted a strange clump of materials on the floor of her business’ garage. When the police analysed it, they discovered it was a package of ruined dynamite, attached to a pressure switch. It must have been rigged to blow under the bottom of her delivery vehicle! Thankfully, the explosives were damp, and when the switch triggered they only went off with an underwhelming little pop, not a bang.

Engleman had failed to blow his financial woes away, and would have to find another way to settle the score. Fast forward another ten months, and time is running out: a final decision was to be passed on January 21st 1980. So Engleman just decided to give the exact same plan another crack. 

One week before the ruling was due, Barrera hopped into her delivery van, parked out front of her laboratory. She turned the key, stepped on the gas, and the entire thing went up in a furious fireball. She was killed instantly.

Investigators once again found evidence of a pressure switch mechanism, just like in the attempted bombing the year before, and concluded that either dynamite or a liquid explosive was used. Witnesses came forward to report that three men in orange jumpsuits were seen working on the car earlier that morning — they assumed it was some innocent routine maintenance.

But of course, it was Engleman and his cronies, fixing the car bomb underneath the innocent woman’s ride. 

Rather than just settle his financial quibbles like a normal person, Engleman preferred to spend hundreds of hours planning an intricate murder plot that would wipe the slate clean. He would literally rather blow a human being to smithereens rather than face bankruptcy. 

Suddenly those unpaid dental bills are starting to look a lot more urgent, no?

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You May Feel a Slight Sting 

Now, I’m no detective, but I’m pretty sure one of the first things they get taught in their academics is that money = motive. If you have a body, one of the first things you should do is check their balance sheets, to see who might have the financial incentive to remove them from the equation. 

Following that logic, there was little doubt that Engleman had something to do with the bomb that blew Barrera sky high, but as usual there was no hard proof. Engleman was always extremely careful to not leave any physical evidence behind — no matter how much circumstantial evidence pointed towards him, the investigators were always lacking the crucial key to unlock the case.

They found it in the form of Ruth Engleman, the diabolical dentist’s most recent wife. In the end, it was Engleman’s macho bravado that brought about his demise: he had let Ruth in on some of the details of his crimes during their time together, perhaps thinking it would impress her. But actually, she was terrified. After it was clear that Engleman wasn’t joking, Ruth started to fear that she might be next on his list of targets. So she and the cops collaborated on a sting operation to put him behind bars for good.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms provided Ruth with a wire, which she wore when meeting up with Engleman several times throughout January and February 1980. The resulting tapes were an absolute gold mine for the prosecution. Engleman can be heard saying that Sophie Barrera deserved to be killed, and confessing that he was behind the failed bombing attempt in 1979.

He also admitted his part in the first plot we covered today, with the dental assistant Carmen. He even implicated Robert Handy, revealing that the reason he came by shortly after the killing was to help him break down his $10,000 payment into smaller denominations, to prevent the money being tracked. Ruth herself remembered that day, and testified to it in court. 

All three of the conspirators were rounded up and charged, along with Carmen’s brother. It was a fairly short trial first time round, with Engleman and Handy facing charges of mail fraud and conspiracy. They were both convicted in August 1980: Engleman to 30 years and Handy to just 20. 

The latter turned full snitch on his old accomplice when the rest of the murder charges started coming to light, which was the only way he could escape the maximum punishments for himself. The federal murder charges which followed for Engleman started with the killing of Sophie Barrera — another 30 years were tacked onto his sentence for that. Then later that year, the murder of Peter Halm — another 50 big ones. 

And the cherry on the top came when Andre Jones retracted his statement regarding the Gusewelle case. In 1985, partway through serving his sentence in an Illinois federal prison, he pled guilty to all of those murders too. As for whether or not his supporting cast of accomplices faced justice, it’s kind of a mixed bag. 

Barbara Boyle was sentenced to 50 years for her part in deceiving and killing her husband. Carmen Miranda and her brother were busted too, but amazingly the prosecutors let them off the hook in exchange for the brother’s testimony against Engleman. That was the only way they could be sure of a guilty verdict in the original conspiracy case.

Because at the end of the day, that was the important thing: getting this accomplished, sadistic, efficient murderer behind bars for good. St Louis’ most prolific hobbyist hitman was condemned to spend the rest of his life in a federal prison, with no hope of release. 

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Wrap-up

Engleman’s killing career was at an end, but he almost got the chance to inflict sadistic pain upon others even after his arrest; there was talk of letting him return to dentistry with a job in the prison clinic. That idea was shot down promptly — the last thing you want is a self-admitted sociopath being allowed to stick sharp metal objects into other prisoners’ mouths. So Engleman retired from both of his careers simultaneously. 

When the damage is tallied up, we know for sure that he committed seven murders. However, that glaring blank spot in the timeline between number 2 and 3 is screaming out at me: there might be a whole lot more deaths that we don’t know about. Based on the testimony of his friends and relatives, some have speculated the real number might be upwards of a dozen.

And the scariest thing about Glennon Engleman is that, unlike the majority of egotistical murderers we’ve featured on this show, it seems like he was actually… good at it. His macabre talents were undeniable, which makes you worry about all the secret serial killers that might be out there, hidden in plain sight, that will never to be caught.

Had he not been sold out by his terrified ex wife, Engleman himself probably could have kept pulling off his meticulous murder plots for years to come. But in the end, his bravado got the better of him. The lead prosecutors on his case, Gordon Ankney, told the papers:

“He says he does it for money, but I think that’s a front. He never did it for enough to make it worthwhile […]. He related homicidal intimacy with sexual intimacy. There was almost a sexual excitement about killing. He’s said to have quite a sexual drive. He has a very macho image of himself.” 

Rather than shirk away from the cameras, he relished the limelight while it lasted. But after a few years, with no fresh charges against him, the sensation died down. Engleman was largely forgotten, until 1996, when a trashy slasher film loosely based on him, called The Dentist, revived interest in his case.

The next time he appeared in the papers was after his death on March 4th 1999. For a man who specialised in plotting intricate murders, infamous for their inventiveness as much as their brutality, his own end was pretty damn mundane. It wasn’t a sniper’s bullet or car bomb that finished him off, but diabetes. 

Glennon passed away in the prison medical clinic from complications during treatment, taking the true extent of his crimes to the grave…

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Dismembered Appendices

1. One of the more peculiar aspects of this story is the surprise interjection of Andre Jones, who took the blame for killing Ronald Gusewelle. His story was that he had a female friend pretend to be a prostitute, to draw men into robberies. He described a man that looked like Ron coming round the corner, pistol whipping him, then shooting him. He explained he got the case details from his interrogators. But why take the blame at all? He wasn’t clear on that, although at one point suggested he couldn’t identify the real killer because he wanted to protect his family’s lives…

2. While Engleman passed away in prison, Barbara Boyle was lucky enough to taste freedom again years later. In her premature petition to the parole board in 2000, she said she “loved my husband deeply” and “I still mourn Ronald to this day.” That definitely gets the gold medal for mental gymnastics. Her request was denied, but nine years later she was released back into the world. If any elderly bachelors in St Louis come across the name Barbara Boyle, probably best give her a wide berth…

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