February 9, 2014

Grady Stiles: The Lobster Boy

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Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr., was born in Pittsburgh on June 26, 1937. He had ectrodactyly, a rare hereditary condition in which the fingers and toes are fused together, making claw-like extremities.

Grady's father, also afflicted with ectrodactyly, had his son join him as a side-show attraction in a traveling carnival. Grady couldn't walk so he used a wheelchair in public, but  he could crawl and perform nearly any task using his "claws".

Grady was married three times (he married his first wife twice) and fathered four children, two of whom inherited his "lobster" claws.

By all accounts, Grady was abusive to his family; most agree that he was also alcoholic. Despite his condition, he had incredible upper body strength. In short, he was just plain dangerous.

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Grady's eldest daughter, Donna (who was not afflicted with ectrodactyly) became engaged to marry, Grady disapproved. The night before the wedding, Grady shot the boy through the head.

Grady escaped a prison sentence on the grounds that no prison was equipped to handle his disability. He got fifteen years probation. This made him feel invincible; he even bragged that he'd killed once and gotten away with it and would not hesitate to do so again.

It was during this time that he remarried his first wife, Mary Teresa and the abuse escalated. In 1992, his wife and her son from a prior marriage hired a neighbor to kill Grady. On November 29 of that year, Grady was shot to death while watching TV in the family's trailer home. The shooter, Maria and her son were all given lengthy prison sentences.

If you're interested in knowing more about it all, click the picture on the right to be taken to Barnes & Noble for the book.

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