The 8-year-old Deer Park, Texas, boy died Oct. 31, 1974, after eating trick-or-treat candy laced with cyanide. Within days, his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, stood accused of staging the crime as part of a life insurance scheme.
With his wife testifying for the prosecution, O'Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death. Dubbed the "Candy Man" by fellow prisoners, he was executed by lethal injection in 1984.
Halloween has lived on. But not the way it was.
The case horrified parents and helped usher in an era in which carefree costumed trick-or-treating has given way to X-rayed candy bags and tightly controlled Halloween parties and festivals.
The decades-old idea that depraved strangers are targeting children with tainted Halloween candy, however, is more fiction than fact.
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