• This Day in Crime History

    January 16: 1936: Serial Killer Hamilton Howard “Albert” Fish was executed in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison. He was responsible for at least 5 murders, including 10-year-old Grace Budd whose murder he was sentenced to death for.

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This Day in Crime History: Richard Crafts arrested for murder of wife Helle *The Woodchipper murder*


Helle Crafts
Helle Crafts

Dentist identifies Helle Crafts teeth
Helle Crafts feared for life, friends testify
Crafts guilty of murdering wife
50-Year Sentence Imposed In ‘Wood Chipper’ Murder
‘Wood chipper’ killer gets 50 years
Crime/Mystery; Evidence Sparse But Grisly
23 years ago, Richard Crafts was more willing to part with his wife than his money
Crafts Loses Appeal For A New Trial
Murderpedia: Richard B. Crafts
Wikipedia: Murder of Helle Crafts

The Woodchipper Murder

Mansions & Murders: Behind Enemy Lines
Blood, Lies & Alibis: The Woodchipper Murder
Forensic Files: The Disappearance of Helle Crafts


Richard Crafts

Inmate Number: 152724
Date of Birth: 12/20/1937
Latest Admission Date: 1/13/1987
Bond Amount: 0
Controlling Offense: MURDER AF
Date of Sentence: 1/8/1990
Maximum Sentence: 50 Year(s) 0 Month(s) 0 Day(s)
Maximum Release Date: 2/17/2023
Estimated Release Date: Not Applicable
Special Parole End Date: Not Applicable
Detainer: NONE


19 Responses

  1. I think that he is innocent and should live!

  2. He killed her.

  3. uhhhhhhhh hello?? obviously he killed her!!

  4. I was a neighbor of the Crafts family growing up. Believe me when I say, the “evidence” in this case was sketchy at best. He may have killed her, he may not have, but there certainly was not enough solid evidence to convict. I find it unlikely that he put her through a woodchipper. The investigators found NO blood on the woodchipper…how could he have cleaned it so thoroughly? And the tooth they found was a partial tooth, which would easily be matched to anyone’s mouth, even an animal’s. The list goes on and on.

  5. Dear annonymous,

    there obviously would not be any blood there because her body was frozen, and the serial number on the woodchipper he bought ma

  6. Richard is my mother’s first cousin. I knew his family very well, and stayed with them some as a child. My husband and I are both law enforcement officers. My husband is the chief investigator for our county. I have researched this case, and like I said I know the people involved. He did it. there is NO doubt in my mind.

  7. I don’t know them personally but based on the evidences in Forensic Files, I believed he killed her and the 50 years sentence isn’t long enough. He may have been a good person growing up or doesn’t seem like a killer but after watching many crimes like these, it only takes a second to act. The motive behind this was clear.

  8. I would like to just say I dnt know the crafts. But I’ve done my research because I am into forensic science. Fortunatley I came to a conclusion. Mr. Crafts is guilty. So for all you slow clouded minded people who dont know right from wrong pay attention.. Read the evidence again and I promise you your base head will clear up. He deserves more time, even a death sentence, its a murder and he’s guilty… THATS FINAL!!!!!

  9. So this is the famous “woodchipper” man from Fargo the movie? WOW!

    note from blog owner

    Remember that Fargo is only “very loosely” based on several incidents, including the kidnapping of a car dealers wife and this one, but there are others too. Don’t it it too literally at all.

  10. I knew Richard, but not Helle, when he was a Part-time cop in Southbury. He was one of the coldest persons I ever met. I had occasion to work with him and disliked every minute that I did. From the time that Helle was know to be missing, the consensus was that he had something to do with it. I still remember his picture in the newspaper the day after he was arrested. It was a delight to see the picture of CSP Trooper Beavers leading Richard away in handcuffs. I understand that he is in ill health. Maybe he does have a death sentence!

  11. Richard is one sick human being, I am glad he is in Jail. He does not desevre to see that ligh of day again.

  12. I read the book. He’s guilty. He was a mean son-of-a-bitch! Richard keep looking over your shoulder, the man upstairs is going to come and get you soon!

  13. i tink Richard deserves 2 rot in HELL 4 all i care…ow can u jst kill ur wife

  14. To “anonymous”, what qualifies you to say there was no proof? I am a forensic science major and have reviewed the case file many times. Let me give you a few key pieces of evidence your ignorant filled self must have missed. Credit card reports show purchases (after his wife’s disappearance (November 19, 1986) of a freezer which was not found in the home when police officials obtained a warrant to search the Crafts’ residence, new bed sheets, comforter, and a USD $900 for woodchipper rental. The chain saw he had bought prior to his wives disapperance (January 9, 1981) was found at the bottom of Lake Zoar. Forensic experts found traces of blood all over the tool and hair that was a DNA match to Helle’s.
    In summer 1986 Helle Crafts speaks of divorce with her friends. Then begins taking steps by hiring a divorce attorney and private investigator. She later finds out that Richard has been part of many sexual affairs with other women. When she confronts Richard with her intent to divorce he struck Helle unconscious in the bedroom with a blunt object. Then carried her body to a freezer where it was stored for sometime. Crafts later proceeds to take Helle out of the freezer on the night he was seen by a witness, chopped her into large pieces then put her remains in the wood chipper over the lake. Tell me any holes you find in this case. I will be happy to further debate this topic with you.

    • Hopefully you will read this question… I was wondering why in many cases, involving groosome murders, the sentences are “lenient?”(for lack of a better word). I know many are due to deals made with the courts but when not why are they lenient? In this case for example 50yrs is nothing! He should get 50yrs for all of the things he did independently; 50 for hitting her, 50 for chopping her and 50 for chopping her not to mention the 50 for throwing the body parts in the lake… Man it makes me mad, 50 yrs really? And he can be out in 2021 when his 84 wow!!!

      • Al,

        It is actually doubtful, due to the publicity of this case, that Richard Crafts will get out early on parole. If he does his entire sentence, he will be about 100 and probably dead.

        If you are wondering about the sentences being lenient, ask a lawyer or judge. A forensic science major deals with evidence, not sentencing issues. For all of the offenses you mention, not all of them would get 50 years each, like hitting her or throwing the body parts in the lake. Fifty years is not a lot, but it may have been the highest allowed in CT.

  15. Richard if I were you I would be looking over my shoulder every day. The man upstairs is comin to get you!

  16. Richard my boy, the man upstairs is going to send you SOUTH someday! And you know what they say about that!!! Richard, hell is repetitious, and you are going to get your eyes eaten out over and over and over again!!!!!!!!

  17. This is one strange case. After watching a doc on tv about it, i was curious about why the first jury went on so long before the mistrial was declared. Even the 2nd jury took 3 days. The evidence that was reported was seemingly insurmountable. What must there have been to create such doubt? As usual, the comments are laden with emotion and insults at anyone who questions his guilt. Based on what i saw there isnt a shadow of a doubt, but it’s real easy to get half of a story. An EXAMPLE might be of the woodchipper. For me, him working on a bridge in the snowstorm was crazy and ultimately suspicious. Im sure im not alone. WHAT IF they DIDNT report that this was a long standing scheduled job and he couldnt get out of it. My point is that we as consumers of media are easily swayed. (There was no job. Was just a point to make) It’s always interesting to watch public opinion upon an arrest. So sure of ourselves and we dont even realize how little control we have over what we’re told. Im thinking they got it right in this case. I sure hope they did.

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