(UnitedVoice.com) – The 1982 Tylenol poisonings terrified Americans. Seven people died from taking contaminated medicine, including a child. More than 40 years later, the suspect in the case has passed away.
On July 9, first responders in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a call about an unresponsive person around 4 p.m. local time. When they arrived on the scene, they found 76-year-old James W. Lewis dead. Frederick Cabral, the Cambridge Police superintendent, reported the death was not suspicious.
James W. Lewis, the prime suspect in the deaths of seven people in 1982 from cyanide-laced Tylenol, died on Sunday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 76.
Mr. Lewis spent more than four decades under scrutiny in connection with the notorious unsolved poisonings.
He was never charged in… pic.twitter.com/cFCzwDxXE9
— Morbid Knowledge (@Morbidful) July 11, 2023
The Chicago area was the most impacted by the Tylenol poisonings in September and October 1982. All of the victims died there. The first person killed was 12-year-old Mary Kellerman. Adam Janus, 27, was the second to die. He left a wife and two children behind. Next was 27-year-old Mary “Lynn” Reiner, who died seven days after giving birth to her fourth child. Stanley Janus, 25, was the fourth victim to die. He’d migrated to the US from Poland when he was a child and was a newlywed at the time of his death. Theresa ‘Terri’ Janus, 20, was also killed by the contaminated medicine, leaving behind a grieving husband.
The final two victims were 31-year-old Mary McFarland and 35-year-old Paula Prince. Mary was survived by her two toddler sons. Paula was single but hoped to marry and start a family someday.
Lewis was never convicted of killing the seven people who died by taking the Tylenol pills laced with cyanide. However, during the same period as the poisonings, he sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson, saying he would stop the killings if the company paid him $1 million.
In 1983, a jury convicted Lewis of extortion. He went on to serve 12 years in prison for the crime.
The seven deaths from the contaminated medication were the only murders he was accused of committing but not convicted for. In 1978, Missouri authorities charged him with killing and dismembering a 72-year-old who’d reportedly hired him as an accountant. The case was thrown out after a judge ruled Lewis wasn’t read his Miranda Rights. In 2004, a Massachusetts court indicted him for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, but the victim ultimately stopped cooperating with authorities.
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