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Triple Murderer Joseph Kallinger Dies in Prison

May 9, 1996 GMT

CRESSON, Pa. (AP) _ Triple murderer Joseph Kallinger, a shoemaker who killed his 14-year-old son and got another young son to help him murder a nurse, has died in prison.

Kallinger, who said he murdered his son and a 10-year-old neighbor two decades ago on orders from God, died March 26 at the Cresson state prison.

Kallinger suffered a heart attack after he choked on his own vomit, Cambria County Chief Deputy Coroner Jim Zangaglia said.

The death of the bearded, dark-haired murderer, who described his life of crime in a 1983 book, received little attention until reported Wednesday by The Record of Hackensack, N.J.

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``The world is just a little better place, now that he’s dead,″ said Valerie Collins, whose sister, Maria Fasching, was among his victims. ``But we as a family suffer to this day. We will never stop suffering.″

Kallinger, 59, a shoemaker from Philadelphia, had spent his last five years in solitary confinement and on suicide watch at the prison.

Along with a string of armed robberies, Kallinger was convicted of the 1975 killing of Fasching, a 21-year-old nurse in Leonia, N.J., after invading a house where she worked. His son Michael remained upstairs guarding several hostages, while Kallinger forced Fasching to the basement and slit her throat.

Kallinger and his son were arrested several days later. The son pleaded guilty to armed robbery.

At the time of his death, Killinger was serving a 30- to 80-year term for robbing four Harrisburg-area women in December 1974.

``You are an evil man, Joseph Kallinger, and a violent criminal from whom society needs protection,″ Judge John C. Dowling said before imposing the sentence. ``I say not evil just because of your crimes but because you actively involved a 12-year-old boy in these infamous deeds. To so corrupt your own son is utterly vile and depraved.″

Kallinger later received two life sentences for killing his 14-year-old son, Joseph Jr., and 10-year-old Jose Collazo in 1974. He was charged with those two killings only after admitting to them in the book ``The Shoemaker″ by Flora Rheta Schreiber. He said he killed the boys on orders from God.

Kallinger was confined for years at Pennsylvania’s Farview State Hospital for the criminally insane. He had initially been held at the state prison at Huntingdon until he attacked another inmate with a razor-studded belt.

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He was sent to Cresson in December 1990, where he was placed in restrictive housing. Worried that he might kill himself, prison officials did not allow Kallinger to wear the standard prison jumpsuit. Instead, he was limited to boxer shorts in his heated cell. After he tried to swallow a spoon, he was no longer given eating utensils and had to eat meals with his hands.

A doctor making regular rounds observed seizure-like symptoms in Kallinger on March 25 and ordered him transferred to the prison infirmary. When he was checked again at 1 a.m., he was dead, prison spokesman Jeff Rackovan said.

An autopsy showed the cause of death as a heart attack.