The Evidence Room, Episode 2 - The man who killed Halloween

Halloween decorations are up, and people are getting their candy ready to hand out to all the little goblins and ghouls. But do you know why many families check their trick or treat bags at the end of the frightful night?

Halloween decorations are up, and people are getting their candy ready to hand out to all the little goblins and ghouls. But do you know why many families check their trick or treat bags at the end of the frightful night? You may have heard about this story before, but you’ve never seen it quite like this.

HOUSTON – You may have heard about this story before, but you’ve never seen it quite like this.

“The Evidence Room” documentary series offers an unprecedented look by KPRC 2 Investigates into the criminal archives of Harris County. Episode 2 opens the case file of Ronald Clark O’Bryan, known as The Candy Man or The Man Who Killed Halloween.

**editor’s note--we are in the process of correcting a production error that led to prosecutor Mike Hinton being named as his co-counsel, Vic Driscoll. A corrected version will be uploaded shortly.**

Watch ‘The Evidence Room’ every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the KPRC 2+ livestream player below:

The crime unfolded in 1974 after a night of trick or treating, when O’Bryan gave his son and four other children Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. The poisoned candy killed O’Bryan’s son and kicked off a wave of panic felt across the country. Within days detectives began unraveling O’Bryan’s story and the picture of a greedy, desperate narcissist emerged.

“Ronald Clark O’Bryan was notorious for two reasons, he killed his own son, and he ruined the tradition of Halloween trick or treating,” KPRC2 Reporter Susan Starnes tells us in a 1984 report.

One of the prosecutors on the case, Vic Driscoll gave the final argument in O’Bryan’s trial.

“O’Bryan did not have the truth in him, even when the truth would do him better. He has used his friends, his family and his church. He sacrificed his only son, not on the altar of God as Abraham might have done but on the altar of his own greed,” Driscoll was quoted as saying in the book, ‘Capital Murder.’

O’Bryan never admitted guilt. Below is his final statement recorded by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prior to O’Bryan’s execution in 1984.

“What is about to transpire in a few moments is wrong! However, we as human beings do make mistakes and errors. This execution is one of those wrongs yet doesn’t mean our whole system of justice is wrong. Therefore, I would forgive all who have taken part in any way in my death. Also, to anyone I have offended in any way during my 39 years, I pray and ask your forgiveness, just as I forgive anyone who offended me in any way. And I pray and ask God’s forgiveness for all of us respectively as human beings. To my loved ones, I extend my undying love. To those close to me, know in your hearts I love you one and all. God bless you all and may God’s best blessings be always yours. Ronald C. O’Bryan P.S. During my time here, I have been treated well by all T.D.C. personnel.”

A judge ordered most of the evidence in the case to be destroyed, and that’s why KPRC2 Investigates found very little evidence stored with Harris County.

LEARN MORE: The Evidence Room: Cases that changed the people of Houston

Robert Clark O'Bryan mug shot (KPRC 2)

The Evidence Room, Episode 1: The murder case that haunts the Harris Co. criminal exhibit archive manager

Watch new episodes of “The Evidence Room” Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. on the KPRC 2+ livestream.


Here’s how to find the KPRC 2+ livestream:
  • Search for the KPRC 2+ app on your smart TV or streaming device - including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Google TV.
  • Catch the show at Click2Houston.com/watchlive or in the video player above.
  • Watch on the KPRC 2 News app – which is free to download in your Apple or Android app store.

About the Authors:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”