Joseph R. Metheny was an obese serial killer with a strange fetish, which is why he was also popularly known as Joe "The Cannibal" Metheny.
He became a serial killer in the most unexpected of ways if that is even possible.
At first, Joe Metheny wanted to find his wife and son, but his mission took a dark turn when he began killing and turning those he had murdered into burgers, which he sold to unsuspecting strangers.
Such a man would be expected to go to a lot of lengths to resist arrest after one of his victims got away and called the cops on him, but that's not what happened.
Despite his formidable build and a reputation for a quick temper, Joe Metheny responded with a chilling confession when confronted by police officers:
"I'm a very sick person."
This was a shocking and unexpected response from an obese, 500-pound factory worker and serial killer.
Before his final arrest, he spent several months killing, raping, and re-purposing his helpless victims into burgers. He had been killing since 1994, and here is his story.
He Did It For Revenge, At First
According to Joe's confession, he did all these grotesque crimes for revenge. When his drug-addicted wife ran away from him with his son, he wanted nothing more than retaliation for the betrayal.
As far as he was concerned, his wife was not fit to take care of his son. He also admitted that he didn't care much for her, which means he wasn't exactly looking for her, intending to patch things up.
There is practically no place he didn't look for them, including halfway houses and under a bridge, where she often bought drugs.
Although he did not find his wife, he found two men who used drugs with her under the bridge, and when they could not offer him any information on his wife's whereabouts, he murdered them with an ax.
In other words, he was quite willing to settle for killing those he crossed paths with during his spirited search for his wife.
A Serial Killer Was Born
On the night he killed the two homeless men, he tricked two women under the bridge and tried to get information about his wife. When they did not give him the answers he needed, he beat them up, sexually assaulted them, and then killed them.
Soon after he was done, he realized that a nearby fisherman might have seen him commit the crime. As far as Joe Metheny was concerned, he had to go as well.
So, he killed him too.
The murders happened randomly, and they were driven by passion. Since he had not planned any of them, he panicked and threw the bodies into the river after weighing them down with rocks.
Not long afterward, the police booked him for killing homeless men. However, after a year and a half in jail, he was set free. Apparently, since he had hidden the bodies, there was no evidence he had killed them.
Additionally, someone who committed another murder used the ax he had used to kill the two homeless men, which complicated the case and led to his acquittal.
However, he went back to what he had already started: the quest to find his wife and child.
Eventually, his wife was taken into police custody for drug use, and the boy ended up in the care system. This relentless desire for revenge partly fueled Joe's desire for vengeance because he knew that his previous criminal record would get in his way of getting custody of his son.
All he had left was to take revenge on his wife and her new partner.
His Intentions Changed, He Turned Into A Cannibal
After some time, Joe must have realized that it was no longer worth pursuing his wife since she had lost custody of his son to the child services. However, that did not stop the murders because he had grown to love them.
So, after his first brush with the law, he was still willing to commit murders. However, he changed how he disposed of the bodies. His targets involved prostitutes and the homeless, and he would rape, murder, and dismember them.
Soon after his release, he killed two prostitutes.
At this point, he was no longer killing for revenge. Joe Metheny enjoyed taking people's lives. Generally, his victims were alcohol and drug users, and often, violent sexual abuse was involved. His mother also revealed that he himself struggled with drugs, a vice he took up while serving in the United States Army.
Human Meat Burgers
People have definitely heard of serial killers raping and even dismembering their victims. However, turning them into food as a cover-up is pretty horrifying and unusual.
Most killers usually dispose of their victims by burying them in secret locations, but Joe Metheny would cut them up into pieces, mix them with pork, and serve them up to unsuspecting guests as burgers at his roadside barbecue stand. The stand was based in Maryland.
After killing his victims, he took the bodies home with him and dismembered them to store the meaty parts in his freezer. The parts he could not use were buried in a truck lot owned by a pallet company he worked for.
He mixed the parts he kept in the freezer with beef and pork and turned them into nice patties, which he sold over the weekends at his barbecue stand. His customers ate human flesh without knowing it.
So, with his imposing 6'1" overweight frame, he was terrorizing and killing his victims before feeding them to unsuspecting strangers for two years.
Nobody who knew him would have suspected that he was capable of such atrocities. His colleagues said he was well-behaved, smart, and well-spoken.
In a twisted sort of way, Joe's customers paid for a chance to help him hide his victims' bodies.
How Did The police Catch Joe "The Cannibal" Metheny.?
Joe Metheny was arrested in 1996. His mistake was allowing one victim to getaway. The lady was Rita Kemper, and after escaping his trailer, she went to the police.
The lucky escape saved her from being killed and served up as an unusual delicacy to his customers.
Apparently, the two had shared drugs in his trailer, and when she refused to have sex with him and ran out of the trailer, he went after her, beat her up, took her back to his trailer. Then he took off her pants to rape her and told her he was going to kill her. Fortunately, she got out through the window of the trailer.
He apparently requested a friend's help disposing of the body of a woman he had killed a month earlier. The friend reported him to the police, and they came looking for him.
After his arrest, he explained that nobody had complained about the meals he served at his stand. According to him, the taste of human flesh seems very familiar to many people:
"The human body tastes very similar to pork. If you mix it together no one can tell the difference."
In the end, Joe killed at least 10 people, and he only stopped because he was arrested before he could kill more.
Joe Metheny - Sentencing, And Death
After Joe was arrested and tried, he was found guilty of murder. The judge handed him a death sentence, which was later turned into two life sentences in 2000.
However, lack of evidence resulted in him being found guilty of only two murders and not the 10 plus murders he claimed he committed.
During his trial, his attorneys claimed that his father had been an alcoholic who died in a car accident when Joe was six. Apparently, his mother was also too busy for him because she was working double shifts. He also argued that he was also often sent to stay with other families in "foster-like" situations.
His mother, however, contradicted many aspects of this story and said he had enjoyed a good upbringing.
Still, the surprising fact about him was that he was quite forthright during his interrogation. He freely gave details of his murders and even mentioned murders he had earlier gotten away with.
Nevertheless, he did not show any remorse for his actions. His only regret was that he did not get to kill the two people he was looking for:
"That's my ex ole lady and the bastard she got hooked up with."
He also had a few words of advice to all of us:
"So the next time you're riding down the road and you happen to seen an open pit beef stand that you've never seen before, make sure you think about this story before you take a bite of that sandwich."
However, in 2017, Joe "The Cannibal" Metheny. was found dead in his cell. That was on August 5, 2017, when he was 62. At the time, he was locked up at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland.
During his sentencing, he had admitted that he committed the killings because he "enjoyed it" and that he "got a high out of it." However, he mostly stands out for turning many people into unwilling cannibals.