December 11, 1939|
|Died||March 26, 1996(aged 60)|
Cause of death
|Other names||The Shoemaker|
Span of killings
|July 7, 1974–January 8, 1975|
|January 17, 1975|
Joseph Kallinger (December 11, 1935 – March 26, 1996) was an American serial killer who murdered three people and tortured four families. He committed these crimes with his 13-year-old son Michael.
Kallinger was born Joseph Lee Brenner III at the Northern Liberties Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Joseph Lee Brenner, Jr. and his wife Judith. In December 1937, the child was placed in a foster home, after his father had abandoned his mother. On October 15, 1939, he was adopted by Stephen and Anna Kallinger. He was abused by both his adoptive parents so severely that, at age six, he suffered a hernia inflicted by his adoptive father. The punishments Kallinger endured included kneeling on jagged rocks, being locked inside closets, consuming excrement, committing self-injury, being burned with irons, being whipped with belts, and being starved. When he was nine, he was sexually assaulted by a group of neighborhood boys.
As a child, Kallinger often rebelled against his teachers and his adoptive parents. He dreamed of becoming a playwright, and had directed his school's performance of A Christmas Carol in the ninth grade. When Kallinger was 15, he began a sexual relationship with a schoolmate named Hilda Bergman. His parents told him not to see her, but he married her and had two children with her. She later left him because of the domestic violence she suffered at his hands. Kallinger remarried in 1958, after he was released from a mental hospital, and had five children with his second wife. He was extremely abusive towards his wife and his children, and often inflicted the same punishments on them that he had suffered from his adoptive parents.
He was arrested and imprisoned in 1972 on child abuse charges after three of his children went to the police. While in jail, he had scored 82 on an IQ test and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and state psychiatrists recommended that he be supervised with his family. The children later recanted their allegations, however.:6 Two years later, one of his children, Joseph, Jr., was found dead in the rubble of an old building  two weeks after Kallinger took out a large life insurance policy on his sons. Though Kallinger claimed that Joseph, Jr. had run away from home, the insurance company, suspecting foul play, refused to pay out the claim.
Beginning in July 1974, Kallinger and his 13-year-old son Michael went on a crime spree spanning Philadelphia; Baltimore, Maryland; and New Jersey. Over the next six weeks, they robbed, assaulted, and sexually abused four families and murdered three people, gaining entrance to each house by pretending to be salesmen. On January 8, 1975, they continued their spree in Leonia, New Jersey. Using a pistol and a knife, they overpowered and tied up the three residents. Then as others entered the home they were forced to strip and bound with cords from lamps and other appliances. This culminated in the killing of 21-year-old nurse Maria Fasching, the eighth person to arrive. She reprimanded Kallinger for his behavior and he responded by slitting her throat. Finally, another of the house residents, still bound, managed to get outside and cry for help. Neighbors saw her and called the police, but by the time police arrived the Kallingers had fled, using the city bus as their getaway vehicle and dumping their weapons and a bloody shirt along the way.
Arrest and imprisonment
Police began investigating Kallinger after gathering physical evidence (a blood-stained t-shirt) and eyewitness testimony that he and his son had been seen in the area. They soon found out about Kallinger's history of domestic violence, Joseph Jr.'s unsolved death, and a series of arsons targeted against buildings he owned. Kallinger and his son were arrested on kidnapping and rape charges, and eventually charged with three counts of murder in New Jersey state courts. Kallinger pleaded insanity, claiming God had told him to kill. He was found sane, however, and sentenced to life in prison on October 14, 1976. Michael Kallinger, meanwhile, was judged to be under his father's control. He was sentenced to a reformatory. Upon his release at 21, he moved out of the state and changed his name. While in prison, Kallinger made several suicide attempts, including attempting to set himself on fire. Because of his suicidal and violent behavior, Kallinger was transferred to a mental hospital in Trenton, New Jersey. He was transferred to a mental hospital in Philadelphia on May 18, 1979.
- "'World of Criminal Justice' on Joseph Kallinger". Bookrags. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Joseph and Michael Kallinger". Frances Farmer's Revenge. Retrieved 20 April 2012.[unreliable source?]
- Greenlief, Christopher; Amanda Hall and Jenna Hafey. "Joseph Kallinger: 'The Shoemaker" (PDF). Retrieved 2 May 2012. [unreliable source?]
- Ramsland, Katherine. "The Enigmatic Cobbler: Clever or Crazy?". truTV Crime Library. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Mariotte, Jeff (2010). Criminal Minds: Sociopaths, Serial Killers, and Other Deviants. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
- "Experts in Murder Trial Say Shoemaker is Schizophrenic", The New York Times, 30 January 1984.
- Dominic, Sama. "Joseph Kallinger, Shoemaker Jailed For 3 Infamous Killings". Philly.com. Interstate General Media, LLC. Retrieved July 23, 2013.