Ricky Kasso: Satanist Slayer
Satanism has been subjected to intense criticism ever since it was popularized by figures such as Anton LaVey, but statistics show that homicides motivated by occult beliefs have always been extremely rare in modern times. The case of seventeen-year-old Ricky Kasso of Long Island is therefore an anomaly, yet continues to be one of the most horrific examples of ritual murder in living memory.
Ricky Kasso was born and raised in New York, and his childhood was an unexceptional one. Its only when Kasso discovered a book on Satanism at his local library that his personality became unstable, and he drew the attention of his peers and authority. He became a heavy recreational drug user and skipped school to listen to heavy metal music whilst reading books on witchcraft. Neighbors were shocked at the way Kasso would scream “Hail Satan!” at passing pedestrians, and he earned a reputation as a bully. Kasso even formed a cult that dedicated itself to Satan and bragged to friends about conducting blood rituals at the infamous house in Amityville where Ronald DeFeo murdered six members of his own family.
In June 1985, when Kasso was seventeen, he confided to a friend that he wanted to sacrifice a victim to Satan in order to increase his power. Kasso decided his target would be fellow drug enthusiast Gary Lauwers, who Kasso believed had stolen bags of PCP and mescaline from him. Alongside two other friends from the cult, Kasso lured Lauwers into a lonely patch of woods with an offer to get high. The four teenagers took hits of LSD and gathered around a small campfire, until Lauwers annoyed Kasso by trying to leave because his mother would be worried about him. Kasso took out a knife and stabbed Lauwers in the chest, while the two other boys held him down. Kasso demanded Lauwers’ say “I love Satan”, but when the unfortunate boy said “I love my mother” instead, Kasso gouged his eyes out with the knife. When Lauwer’s was dead Kasso covered his body with leaves and fled the scene.
Ricky Kasso could not resist bragging about his crime, and two weeks later he was arrested for murdering Gary Lauwers. An autopsy of the body revealed the victim had been stabbed between seventeen to thirty-six times in the chest, with five of the wounds peircing his lungs and heart. Kasso claimed he had heard Satan telling him to kill Lauwers in the form of a crow, and laughed when he heard Lauwer’s funeral would be closed-casket due to the state of the body.
Unfortunately justice wasnt served for Gary Lauwers; Kasso hung himself in his prison cell while awaiting trial. The two other cult members involved in the brutal murder recieved lesser sentences.