August 2, 1944|
|Died||May 12, 1974
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
|Conviction(s)||3 counts murder|
|Number of victims||At Least 4|
|Span of killings||1968–1969|
The case gained international attention when district attorney Edmund Dinis, in comments to the media, claimed "The hearts of each girl had been removed from the bodies and were not in the graves…Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints." Dinis also claimed that there were teeth marks found on the bodies. These claims produced a stream of national and international media outlets into local Provincetown, Massachusetts. The media attention was so great that Kurt Vonnegut (whose daughter Edith had met Costa) compared him to Charles Manson in his collection of essays Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons.
Costa was suspected of killing seven women: Bonnie Williams, Diane Federoff, Barbara Spaulding, Sydney Monson, Susan Perry, Patricia Walsh, and Mary Anne Wysocki but convicted of killing only two: Walsh and Wysocki. On February 8, 1969, while looking for the bodies of Patricia Walsh and Mary Anne Wysocki, police discovered Susan Perry. Perry had been missing since the previous Labor Day.
Perry's body had been cut into eight pieces. When Wysocki's body was found about a month later, her torso and head had been buried separately. Not long after, Walsh and the rest of Wysocki's bodies were found in a forest clearing that Costa had used for growing marijuana. This "garden" of marijuana plants and the greater case inspired the true crime book In His Garden, by Leo Damore.
Costa described the murders of Walsh and Wysocki in his unpublished novel, Resurrection, written while Costa was in prison. In his account, Costa and a friend named "Carl" were out with the two women consuming LSD and Dilaudid. Carl then shot Walsh and Wysocki. Costa claimed he was able to subdue his friend, and upon realizing that Mary Anne Wysocki was still alive, Costa used a knife to end her suffering. According to Costa, he and Carl buried the bodies.
The novel also describes the deaths of Susan Perry and Sydney Monzon as due to drug overdoses. Costa claims it was Carl who dismembered and buried their bodies and that he had no knowledge until after their deaths.
Trial and imprisonment
On June 12, 1969, Costa was arraigned on charges of murder for three of the deaths. In May 1970 he was convicted of the murders of Mary Ann Wysocki and Patricia Walsh and sentenced to life in prison at Massachusetts' Walpole Correctional Institution. Four years after his incarceration, Costa committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell.
- Damore, Leo (1981). In His Garden. Dell. p. 245. ISBN 0-440-20707-X.
- Albright, EJ. "The Tony Costa Cape Cod murders". Cape Cod Confidential. CapeCodToday.com 9 November 2007.
- Vonnegut, Kurt (1974). Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons. Dell Publishing, ISBN 0-385-33381-1.
- Costa, Antone. The Apocalypse. Capecodconfidential.com. 12 January 2001.
- Coleman, Jack. "Today in Cape history: Tony Costa arraigned in Truro murders”. Cape Cod Confidential. CapeCodToday.com 12 June 2008.
- Damore, Leo (1981). In His Garden. Arbor House Publishing, New York.