At the end, it was the stench coming from the back of the Mazda pickup truck that led to his capture.
The state troopers on the Southern State Parkway tried to stop and ticket the driver who had no rear license plate. A high speed chase ensued and ended in Mineola, where Joel David Rifkin crashed right in front of the very same courthouse where he would later stand trial.
Dubbed a "prolific New York serial killer" Joel Rifkin, was convicted of killing 9 women but is believed to have killed as many as 17 during the years of 1989-1993. He is currently serving 203 years to life for 2nd degree murder in an upstate NY facility. His earliest parole date is February 26, 2197.
Joel Rifkin was adopted at a very early age. In 1987, his adopted father committed suicide in response to intolerable cancer pain. It may well have been a contributing factor to Rifkin's depression. Two years later, in 1989, he killed, dismembered and tossed his first victim in the East River.
Rifkin lived most of his life with his sister and elderly mother in the lovely suburban East Meadow neighborhood that is home to the outstanding Barnum Woods school district. With the recent passing of his mother, the house came up for sale. After 114 days on the market, this 1952 two-story, expanded ranch sold for $322,000 reduced from the original price of $424,500.
Peter Hirschhorn, my affable and industrious colleague from a former brokerage was the selling agent for this property. "This is a great home with an open floor plan and hardwood floors. All 4 bedrooms and 2 baths are nice-sized."
Stigmatized properties come with unique advertising issues. While they may be in excellent physical condition, the difficulty is in finding a buyer who doesn't mind and may even be attracted to its morbid history. An average buyer may worry about staying up nights reliving the residence's disturbing occurrences. He may be anxious that even years later, the house will still attract the thrill-seeking or macabre-minded who will stalk the property, as continues to happen to this day at the infamous Amityville Horror site.
Under New York State Disclosure laws, there is no requirement to notify a purchaser of a murder or other undesirable event which has taken place at a particular site. Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) is the key to a successful purchase.
Having said that, right from the start, the listing agent was upfront about the home's gruesome past. The new owners, a lovely family, didn't mind at all.
As the saying goes - "A cover for every pot."
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Graduate REALTOR Institute
Jill Sackler, NYS Real Estate Broker Associate based on Long Island's South Shore
Specializing in Lifecycle Real Estate Transitions
©Jill Sackler 2010