James Lewis Wikipedia Tylenol, Historian, Artist
James Lewis Wikipedia Tylenol, Historian, Artist -: James Lewis was a con artist and suspected serial killer who was the primary suspect in the 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders. He was never charged with the deaths of seven people who died after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules, but he was convicted of extortion after he sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to “stop the killing.” He served 12 years in federal prison.
Lewis was born in 1947 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He had a troubled childhood and spent time in foster care. As an adult, he became involved in a number of scams and cons. In 1974, his daughter Toni died after a heart defect. Lewis believed that the sutures used in her surgery had been defective, and he blamed Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured the sutures.
In 1982, Lewis sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million. He said that he had poisoned Tylenol capsules and that he would continue to do so unless he was paid. The letter caused widespread panic, and Johnson & Johnson recalled all of its Tylenol products. The seven people who died had taken Tylenol capsules that had been purchased in the Chicago area.
Lewis was arrested and charged with extortion. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released in 1995. Lewis died on July 9, 2023, at the age of 76.
The Tylenol murders remain unsolved, and Lewis has never been charged with the deaths. However, he remains the primary suspect, and many believe that he was responsible for the poisonings.
James Lewis Bio
James Lewis (con artist) was a con artist and suspected serial killer who was the primary suspect in the 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders. He was never charged with the deaths of seven people who died after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules, but he was convicted of extortion after he sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to “stop the killing.” He served 12 years in federal prison.
James Lewis, the 76-year-old suspect in the fatal Tylenol poisonings of 1982, passes away.
Police announced on Monday that the suspect in the 1982 Tylenol poisonings that left seven people dead in the Chicago region, caused a national panic, and forced changes to the packaging safety of over-the-counter medications had passed away.
Around 4 p.m., police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel responded to a complaint of a non-responsive person. James W. Lewis was discovered dead in his Cambridge, Massachusetts, home on Sunday, according to a statement from Cambridge Police Superintendent Frederick Cabral. Police reported that he was 76.
The statement reads, “Following an investigation, Lewis’ death was determined to be not suspicious.”
Seven people who took the over-the-counter medications laced with cyanide died, but no one was ever charged in their deaths. Lewis was sentenced to more than 12 years in jail after he demanded $1 million from Johnson & Johnson in an extortion note in order to “stop the killing.” After being released, he and his wife moved to Massachusetts in 1995. His wife’s listed phone numbers weren’t functional.
In 1982, following a massive manhunt, Lewis was apprehended in New York City and provided investigators with a thorough account of the murderer’s potential tactics. Later, Lewis acknowledged sending the letter and requesting the money, but he said he never planned to get it. He claimed he wanted to send the money to the previous employer of his wife in order to humiliate them.
Lewis, who had a history of legal troubles, always denied any involvement in the Tylenol killings, but he was still considered a suspect and provided DNA samples to the FBI in 2010. He even made a website where he claimed to have been set up. Lewis claimed that the pair was in New York City at the time of the poisonings, despite having spent a brief period of time there in the early 1980s.
Lewis claimed that the version he gave authorities was only his attempt of justifying the murderer’s conduct in 1992 interview with The Associated Press.
Making a list of potential outcomes is what I was doing, as I would have for a business client, claimed Lewis. He referred to the murderer as “a heinous, cold-blooded killer, a cruel monster.”
After Illinois officials reopened their investigation, the FBI raided Lewis’ home in February 2009 and removed a computer along with other materials.
When the deaths first occurred, the FBI’s Chicago office highlighted “advances in forensic technology” and declared that it, the Illinois State Police, and local police agencies were conducting a “complete review of all evidence developed in connection” with the slayings.
Seven individuals, including a 12-year-old girl, died after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol in the Chicago region over the course of three days starting on September 29, 1982. This led to a widespread recall of the drug. Due of the poisonings, over-the-counter medicines now come in tamper-proof packaging.
In a phone interview with the AP on Monday, Helen Jensen, a nurse who assisted in caring for the initial victims at a hospital in a Chicago suburb, expressed her hope that Lewis’ passing would serve as a fitting conclusion to the tragedy, which has plagued her for four decades. She also hoped that it would provide the relatives of the victims some closure.
“His passing marks a resolution. Not necessarily the answer everyone desired, according to retired professor Jensen. But it marks the end. I’m 86 now. And I’m delighted I lived to see the very finish.
The first person to notice that a bottle had been tampered with, according to Jensen, was her. The detectives made fun of her.
“I was a woman and a nurse,” she claimed. “I was aware of the mindset at the time. But the following day, I was shown to be correct.
According to Jensen, Lewis, who she acknowledges was at fault, “changed the world because of what he did.”
“We lost our innocence,” she proclaimed. “We no longer have as much faith in other people. All of it may be attributed to him. We have suffered from his horror for 40 years because he was a terrorist.
Lewis had already encountered legal issues.
He was accused of dismembering Raymond West, 72, who had hired Lewis as an accountant, in 1978 in Kansas City, Missouri. Because it was unclear what caused West’s death and because part of the evidence had been obtained unlawfully, the charges were dropped.
In a 1981 credit card scam, he was found guilty of six counts of postal fraud in Kansas City. He was accused of misrepresenting a previous tax client’s identity and background to get 13 credit cards.
Lewis was accused of attacking a lady in Cambridge and was charged in 2004 with rape, kidnapping, and other crimes. He was imprisoned for three years while awaiting trial, but the victim’s refusal to testify led to the charges being dropped the day before his trial was to start, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office at the time.
Lewis, who lived in multiple states, used at least 20 aliases, and worked a variety of jobs, including computer specialist, tax accountant, importer of Indian tapestries, and seller of jewelry, pharmaceutical apparatus, and real estate, according to police in 1983, was described as a “chameleon” by the authorities.
The families of the victims have long been angered by the case’s lack of accountability.
When three members of Monica Janus’ family died after ingesting the poisoned medication, she was just 8 years old. In 2022, Monica Janus told CBS Chicago that she believed the investigation was “really sloppy.”
When Lewis’ wife couldn’t reach her husband while she was out of town, she got in touch with a neighbor, who then called the police, according to Cabral.
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