When we’re young, we all have so much potential for greatness. If we’re very lucky, those who help raise us will see that potential and help cultivate it. Sometimes though, for an unfortunate few, that potential will be snuffed out by forces outside our control.
Little Ricky was a talented athlete and an outgoing young man. He, like so many other young people, had great potential inside of him. Yet one misstep as a teenager, would take him down the completely wrong path and lead him to make the worst mistakes a young person can make…
Always the Athlete
12-year-old Ricky was the type of go-getter and dedicated sportsman that would get up at the crack of dawn to practice football. He was good at the game and loved playing with his friends at every opportunity, some days from dawn until dusk. By the time he was 17 however, all that would fall to the wayside.
Ricky’s new teenage pursuits were not nearly as wholesome as those he had engaged in while an adolescent. Gone were the ambition and dedication that once pervaded Ricky’s entire personality. Now, his only desire in life was to see how high he could truly get. His forays into marijuana usage soon gave way to experimentations with drugs like LSD and PCP…
As you can imagine, Ricky’s parents weren’t exactly thrilled with their son’s paradigm shift. They tried their best to stop his descent into a drug-addled lifestyle, but were unprepared for his tenacity. Unable to control him, they had no choice but to kick him out of their house. This only served to worsen his condition and Ricky dropped out of high school soon after.
Ricky was clever and capable and being on his own was no problem for him. If he needed a place to stay for the night, he’d sleep in unlocked cars, derelict buildings, or on the beach. His penchant for self-destruction and rebellious nature earned him a pretty solid reputation amongst younger boys who looked up to him. It also didn’t hurt that he was always carrying drugs…
Come Crawling Home
Eventually, Ricky and his other homeless friends managed to purchase an old shack, which would serve as their home for several years. Even though he was officially on his own, he’d always come back home if he was in serious trouble. One time, he was caught digging up an old grave looking for an Indian skeleton and his father had to come to court to help keep him out of jail.
Unbeknownst to his father, Ricky’s foray into grave robbing wasn’t some sort of dare or youthful prank, but something much more sinister. Ricky Casso had begun to dabble in forces he could not fully comprehend. He and his friends had become students of Satanism and the occult and called themselves, the “Knights of the Black Circle…”
The Knights of the Black Circle were frequently linked to a rash of local pet disappearances. They would take the animals and sacrifice them to the dark powers. It was brutal, terrible work, and clever, capable, determined Ricky Casso seemed to be behind it all. Together, Ricky and his best friend Jimmy Troiano, caused all sorts of mischief in their small part of the world.
The Acid King
Word soon spread of Ricky Casso and his Knights of the Black Circle. Kids from far and wide came to his shack to get high and learn everything he knew about Satanism, the occult, and life in general. People began calling him “The Acid King” because no matter what he always seemed to have a steady supply of the drug. It was like he was a true king now, with an order of knights, and a court of followers, all hanging on his every word…
For all the bluster of his ramblings, Ricky wasn’t happy with his lot in life: indeed how could he be? He spoke of suicide often and was quoted as believing it to be “the ultimate high.” The drugs were enough to keep his mind off the deed though, and Ricky could often be seen at local parties, indulging in the LSD and angel dust he’d brought with him.
One party in particular, in April of 1984, was a rough one for Ricky Casso. He got so high that he passed out and during the course of the evening was pickpocketed by 17-year-old Gary Lauwers, who wanted more angel dust and wasn’t about to pay for it. The brave teen had no idea that this one fairly harmless act would change both their lives forever…
When Ricky woke up the next day, The Acid King was very dismayed to find that some punk kid had stolen the rest of his drugs while he was unconscious. When he found out who had done it, he became even more furious. He went after Gary and told him that he’d either pay him back for the drugs or he was going to pay for it another way. Gary refused to cooperate…
Finally, after having beaten the 17-year-old within an inch of his life, Ricky was able to recoup five of the 10 packets Gary had stolen. Unfortunately for Gary though, he had already used the others and would have to go back to his parents to get the money for them. Gary never returned that night and every time Ricky saw him after that, he’d beat him down until the teen would promise to pay him back again…
The constant beatings notwithstanding, Gary never managed to procure the money that the Acid King required. Tension between the two was higher than ever and yet Gary continued to hang around his idol. Eventually though, Ricky Casso’s rage would reach a boiling point. It was the summer of 1984 and the Acid King invited several friends, including Gary, to the Aztakea Woods to get high.
Letting it Slide
The group of friends sat around the fire just as they had in the days before Gary had wronged the Acid King. It felt like old times as they all shared Ricky’s supply of angel dust. When the fire began to wane, however, and Ricky suggested using Gary’s jacket as kindling, Gary began to suspect that his “friend” Ricky had no intention of burying the hatchet after all…
Hold Him Down
They threw the arms of Gary’s jacket into the fire, which kept it going for a bit, but when it died down again, Ricky came up with a new suggestion. “Let’s use Gary’s hair.” he said, coldly. Gary got up to leave, he pleaded with them to stop, but it was no use: Ricky was out for blood. Jimmy held him down and the Acid King began to cut clumps out of his hair with a switchblade…
Gary Lauwers was bleeding on the ground, half-bald and crying, when he turned to Ricky and said: “I’m getting bad vibes that you want to hurt me…” to which the Acid King replied: “Hurt you? I don’t want to hurt you, I want to kill you!” Before Gary could mount a defense, Ricky was upon him, stabbing him with a knife…
The Acid King stabbed Gary between 17 and 36 times. He also sliced out his eyeballs and demanded that the 17-year-old pledge his love to Satan as he died. Gary Lauwers may have been a poor judge of friendship, but he was no pushover. The only one he pledged his love to as he died was his mother.
Sacrifice to the Devil
Afterwards, Ricky Casso, in true Acid King fashion, openly bragged to his followers of the murder. He told them that he’d killed Gary as a sacrifice to Satan. Gary’s body was found but no one came forward. Word eventually reached the police though, who took both Ricky and Jimmy into custody. Jimmy sang like a bird and gave up his friend without a second thought…
The police also arrested a third boy for the crime as well. He had been there on the night of the gruesome murder but had been so high that he barely recognized what was happening until it was over. It was determined that unlike Jimmy, who held Gary down the entire town, he never participated in the crime and was ultimately free to go: hopefully to change his life.
Sad Ending for All
Sadly, Ricky’s suicidal tendencies finally caught up with him. A few days after he was arrested, the Acid King hanged himself in his jail cell. In his last act, he had freed Jimmy Troiano from prosecution. With only the drugged out friend to testify against him, Jimmy was acquitted of second degree murder. In the end, Gary’s death was never punished.