Joe Metheny started out looking for his runaway wife and son, but ended up on a revenge-driven killing spree, turning his victims into burgers.
When the police arrested Joe Metheny in Dec. of 1996, they expected him to put up a fight. The man was a 500-pound lumber factory worker, with a tendency to fly off the handle. At the very least, they expected resistance.
What they didn’t expect, was a detailed and upfront confession, the brutality of which was preceded by Metheny’s own warning: “I’m a very sick person.”
In his confession, Metheny described to police how he – driven by an insatiable need for revenge – viciously raped, murdered, and dismembered drug-addicted prostitutes and homeless people, while on a quest to find his runaway wife. However, it wasn’t the murdering and dismembering that was the worst of his crimes. No, it was how he disposed of the bodies to cover them up.
Rather than bury or hide his victims somewhere secret, Joe Metheny chopped them up, mixed them with pork, and served them as burgers to unwitting customers from his roadside barbecue stand.
The murders had started about two years before he was arrested.
When Metheny’s drug-addled wife took their son and left him, he flew into a rage. He spent days looking for them, checking halfway houses, and even under a bridge where he knew his wife used to do drugs.
There, he found not his wife, but two homeless men whom he believed did drugs with his wife. When they gave no indication that they knew where his wife and son were, he killed them both with an axe. After killing them, he noticed a fisherman nearby who could have seen what he’d done. Just in case he had, Metheny killed him as well.
Though he would later turn his victims into burger meat these first three were crimes of passion, and as soon as he realized what he’d done, Metheny panicked and tossed the bodies into the river to hide the evidence.
He was soon arrested for the murders of the homeless men and spent a year and a half in the county jail awaiting a trial. At trial, however, he was acquitted. Thanks to his quick thinking in hiding the bodies, there was no physical evidence he had killed the two men. Now free, Metheny resumed his quest of seeking out his missing wife and child.
Though he’d spent a year and a half locked up for murder, jail time had clearly done nothing to slow Joe Metheny down. Shortly after being released, Metheny murdered two prostitutes, though this time he’d had a better idea for disposing of their bodies. It seemed that he was now murdering people for sport, as much as for revenge.
Instead of tossing them in the river, Metheny brought the bodies home. There, he dismembered them and stored the meatiest parts of them in his freezer, burying the unusable parts in a truck lot owned by the pallet company he worked for.
Back home, he mixed the prostitutes’ flesh with a mixture of beef and pork, forming it into neat little patties. Over the next several weekends, he would sell these little patties out of a small barbecue stand he opened on the side of the road. For weeks, unwitting passers-by, truckers, and townies would all consume bits of human flesh, essentially becoming living hiding spots for the bodies of Metheny’s victims.
Upon his arrest, Metheny told police that no one had complained about the meat tasting funny. In fact, no one seemed to notice that his burgers had a little something extra in them.
“The human body tastes very similar to pork,” he said. “If you mix it together no one can tell the difference.”
Whenever he needed more “special meat” Metheny would simply venture out and find another vagabond. According to his confession, he killed 10 people, though authorities say there’s no reason to believe he would’ve stopped there had he not been arrested.
He was finally caught in 1996, when a would-be victim managed to escape Joe Metheny’s clutches and went to police. Eventually he was found guilty and sentenced to death, which was overturned in 2000, and changed to two life sentences. In 2017, he was found dead in his prison cell.
During his interrogation, he willingly offered up a confession, and details about each of his murders, even mentioning the murder of the fisherman which he had gotten away with several years before. He also appeared to show no remorse for what he’d done, apart from one thing.
“The only thing I feel bad about in any of this, is I didn’t get to murder the 2 motherfuckers I was really after,” he said. “And that’s my ex ole lady and the bastard she got hooked up with.”
“So the next time you’re riding down the road and you happen to see an open pit beef stand that you’ve never seen before,” he warned. “Make sure you think about this story before you take a bite of that sandwich.”