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Albert Fish


During his confession, Albert Fish, a frail old man who was about 5 foot 5 inches tall and only 130 pounds, described the crimes he committed in hideous detail. Throughout the confession he remained calm and detached.

He said he had originally planned to kill Edward Budd. He wanted to cut off his penis and allow him to bleed to death. However, when he saw Edward's younger sister, Grace, he decided that she was who he wanted to kill.

After he left their house the first time, Fish said he had gone out and bought a cleaver, saw and butcher knife. When he came to the Budd's house the second time, he left his weapons in a sack by a newsstand.

When he left with Grace to take her to a party that his sister was supposedly throwing for her child, Fish picked up the bundle on their way to the station. At the station, he only bought a one-way ticket for the child.

They went to a village north of Westchester. As they got off the train, Fish almost forgot his package, but Grace reminded him. She had no idea that in his package were the tools he would use to destroy her.

They walked along a deserted road until they got to a two-story building that Fish had picked out. He went to a bedroom on the second floor while Grace picked flowers outside. He then called her upstairs.

She screamed when she saw the old man naked. She called for her mom as she tried to escape. Fish grabbed her by the throat and strangled her. As he did this, he found himself sexually aroused. However, he did not rape her.

Once she was dead, he propped her head on top of a paint can and cut it off. He allowed most of her blood to flow into the can. He threw the blood out in the yard.

He returned to the body and cut it into two pieces with the cleaver and knife. He wrapped up some of the parts in newspaper and took those with him. He threw the rest of her remains over a stone wall in back of the building.

Fish's arrest and confession led to the end of the mysterious disappearance of 4-year-old Billy Gaffney. A man who had seen Fish pulling Gaffney off of a train called police and told the man his story.

Fish confessed and described in great detail the acts he performed on Gaffney.

Here are parts of his description:

"... Stripped him naked and tied his hands and feet and gagged him with a piece of dirty rag I picked out of the dump. Next day about 2 p.m., I took tools, a good, heavy cat-of-nine-tails. I whipped his bare behind till the blood ran from his legs. I cut off his ears, nose, slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then. I stuck the knife in his belly and held my mouth to his body and drank his blood.

"Then I cut him up. I came home with my meat. I had the front of his body I liked the best. His monkey and pee wees and a nice little fat behind to roast in the oven and eat. I made stew out of his ears, nose, pieces of face and belly. I put onions, carrots, turnips, celery, salt and pepper. It was good.

"Then I split the cheeks of his behind open, cut off his monkey and pee wees and washed them first. I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put them in the oven. Then I picked four onions and when the meat had roasted about 1/4 hour, I poured about a pint of water over it for gravy and put in the onions. At frequent intervals I basted his behind with a wooden spoon. In about two hours, it was nice and brown, cooked through. I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did. I ate every bit of the meat in about four days. His little monkey was as sweet as a nut, but his pee wees I could not chew. Threw them in the toilet."

Full description by Fish

Fish also said that he had preyed on at least 100 children, most of whom he had bribed with candy or money. He said he usually chose African-Americans so the police would not notice their disappearance.

It was clear that the only way Fish could avoid the death penalty was to be declared insane.


Source: Court TV's Crime Library


Albert Fish:
History | Victims | Confession | Trial and Execution

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  • Fish describes crimes in great detail while remaining perfectly calm and detached
  • Says he originally planned to kill Edward Budd, but upon seeing Grace decided that she was the one he wanted to kill
  • Took Grace to house
  • She picked flowers while he prepared for her murder
  • She came upstairs and screamed when she saw him naked
  • He strangled her and then decapitated her
  • He cut her body in two and took some parts with him- threw others over wall
  • Man identifies Fish as man he had seen leading Billy Gaffney from a train
  • Fish confesses to Gaffney's brutal murder and the meals he made from his body
Copyright © 2003 Heather Rawlins