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EndGamE….

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< atrabilious > like I said, you’ve probably never been ready to die
CHATROOM, 9/14/04

Ah, there he is.
Alone in an old black and white photograph. Hands cuffed behind his back. Slick black thick hair. Moustache, slick black too. Stretched solid above his upper lip a stray little smile just visible.

But it’s the dead calmness of his eyes that catch me. Slip-slipping into nothingness. Staring blankly into a camera lens…
all those years ago. 1970 maybe…
another scary year… Nixon.
Joplin & Hendrix, dead. Vietnam…

Catch 22.

…How smug he seems …This Mr. Antone Charles “Tony” Costa, a supposedly quiet-mannered Provincetown man… finally under arrest. Accused of brutally murdering four women and burying their remains near the Old Truro cemetery.

How unforgiving it was.

These women mutilated and shot dead.
Their bodies cut up and dumped.
Already decomposing when they were found.
…Organs missing from at least one victim.

What a hellish scene it was.

TRURO, Cape Code… 1969

Around eleven-thirty, on an embankment twenty feet from Old Proprietor’s Road, two members of the Truro Rescue Squad came upon a depression some four feet long and two feet wide which had sunk eight inches below the surrounding ground; a piece of olive green cloth was protruding from the bottom of the hollow. – LEO DAMORE, In His Garden

Imagine icy slick ground. A shadowy woods and snow-capped trees…

The oppressive cold just everywhere. So many men searching. Seventy or more… And in the distance, an old abandoned VW, belonging to one of the victims.

Time passed…
but then, that first body was finally found.

The stench “…like something rotten,”
said State Police Trooper, Edgar Gunnery.
He was close to the find you see close to her….
the dead beauty, Susan Perry.

And then Mary Anne Wysocki, Patricia Walsh
and lastly… Sidney Monzon. Decomposing beneath them.

“Come on!” I commanded. “Let’s get the hell out of here!”

“Wait!” Carl said. “We’ve got to bury the bodies. We can’t leave them here like this! Either you help me bury these chicks or we’ll both end up behind bars. We’re both in this up to our necks. If I get caught I’ll say you were here when I killed them, then what will you do? So are you going to help me or not?” – ANTONE COSTA, Resurrection

In 1970, Costa was found guilty of killing two of the Truro women. He was sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, Costa > always so matter-of-fact it seemed… was found hanging by his neck in his prison cell.

ON SUNDAY May 12, 1974, a Walpole corrections officer making a routine tier check at 8:10 P.M. discovered Antone Costa hanging by the neck from a woven leather belt knotted around the upper bars of his cell. Costa’s eyes bulged open; his darkly mottled face was frozen into a grotesque mask. Blood foamed against his gaping lips from his having bitten his tongue nearly in half. One unlaced sneaker had been kicked off during his death struggles, revealing a mended white sock. Costa badly urinated down the front of his unpressed prison trousers. Medical examiner Harold L. Shenker certified that Antone Charles Costa had died “of asphyxiation by hanging- suicide.” Costa was twenty-nine years old. – LEO DAMORE, In His Garden

Costa never admitted guilt… talking only about Carl, his mysteriously creepy friend described in his book Ressurection… Carl, the murderer… the monster… not him.

No.

Not the man in this black and white photograph.
His face all jawline and soft white flesh.
A thick rigid neck….
and that empty empty stare…
to remember him by.

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About vOyA

  • Nichole (Costa) Andersom

    I really don’t appreciate this page! It was my father, and I find this page very tasteless! I wouldn’t order anything from your company. And I hope no one else will.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Which has exactly what to do with Heller’s book, vOyA?

    Nichole, if the post offended you by referring to your father, at least be aware that no one else commented. Perhaps they were all equally baffled.

  • Avis Johnson

    5/12/05
    This is the anniversary of the day that Tony Costa was found hanging in his cell in Walpole prison which, in 1974, was Mother’s Day.
    Having once been the wife of this troubled man ,I am in the process of writing my own memoir. Unfortunately Tony’s lawyer, Maurice Goldman, now deceased, turned over all my personal letters,photographs,etc to Leo Damore when he was writing, In His Garden. None of it was returned to me as promised by Maurice Goldman. Leo Damore , sadly, committed suicide and I have no idea how to get in touch with the group retaining all the items he used for his book .
    Regarding the book :In my opinion it was an unusually accurate chronology of events but did not come close to touching upon the impact on the lives of all of those whose paths crossed with Tony’s.My heart still breaks for all of us.
    Avis Johnson

  • Michael Walsh

    Avis,

    I wish you good luck with retrieving your materials. When I read of your plight, I immediately hand te image of realy getting “out there” like the detectives on TV and walking into places and asking for your property and information leading to it.
    I think with the time elapsed, this might be what’s required, or people tend to shuffle it off for “later” — it’s so easy. But if you are standing there in front of them, sitting in the waiting room to get the answer….

    I live in SE Mass., so I know the reputation… but don’t be fooled — real live people standing there expecting an answer get past LOTS of beaurocracy….

    Good luck!
    Michael

  • Bonney

    Avis

    Damore’s papers were all given to Kent State, it looks as if all the Costa things are there with too – try the special collections library at the university, a list of what’s there is online.

    Hope this will help~

  • Pavel Fexa

    Hi Avis,

    good luck in writing your book !
    Regards to Margot and all.

    Pavel Fexa, Czech Rep.

  • jack reed

    my family and i lived in provincetown from ’66 to ’68 and lived very close to the costas, and us younger kids even played over at their house, and avis and one of her kids came to my younger brother’s birthday party. i had finished the 4th grade when we moved, and either because of my age, or parents keeping it from us, i never knew anything about tony. i barely remember seeing him when we played at their house.
    i read in his garden and was awestruck. (i can’t explain what exactly i mean by that) but that this was someone who’s house i had been to (never inside though), and whose kids i played with.
    i wonder how it came about that when i googled his name and found a few hits, it was stated that he had killed 20 people. i thought the only ones were the ones mentioned in the book.
    i hope and pray that avis and her children are all well and leading happy normal existences.

  • http://marksrelease.blogspot.com/ mark

    hi avis and nicho. I want to wish you a happy birthday A.

    i think of you both often

    M

  • Ally

    Avis… I found this URL It’s about Leo Damore’s papers and records which are supposed to include a lot of stuff he collected for the book ‘In His Garden’ It says that there is a significant amount of “sensitive” material in the collection. Check it out?

    By the way Avis

    I had met Tony in passing several times in and about both Provincetown and Hyannis back in the summers of 1965 thru 1968 when I worked as the handyman for the Lewis Bay Lodge and Motel in Hyannis. I hung out quite a bit in P’town during those summers from time to time as many others did eventually becoming somewhat part of the local crazy street scene that had developed on the Cape. Being an aspiring musician at the time and trying to get my own band and music going I recall being introduced to Moulty Moulton and the Barbarians one summer, and attending some wild and crazy house parties with them and some other locals. Occassionally I recall seeing Tony at some of those places and on the street back then. I seem to remember him as being a very smart guy allthough somewhat quiet and introspective. Who would have figured what was going to come?
    Jesus! I hope life has treated you and your kids kindly since those terrible days…I hope the URL is of some help to you!
    Sincerely,
    Ally Levin
    New Bedford, MA

  • Avis Johnson

    Wow ! I accidentally came back to this site when I googled myself and found my way here. Amazing how many people have responded. It’s been a while so I’m not sure that any of you still check this site.
    PAVEL FEXA !!! How are you? We miss you at Marine Specialties.
    And Jack Reed …I remember your name. Weren’t you related to the Reverend Reed? Well anyway, you wouldnt have noticed anything strange about our house. Tony and I were no longer together then.As for the kids….Nico and Michael both live in Eastham with their families and Peter is here in town. Both boys are builders although Peter’s heart has always been (I think) with diving. Lobster diving and some diving for boat captains who need to have nets ,etc untangled from their rudders. everyone is OK. No more inner demons than most people seem to have these days although no one got out unscathed.
    To Ally : I am still in touch with Moulty and Ronnie Enos who was one of the Barbarians for a brief time. Maybe you remember him.
    Mark….which Mark might this be?

    Anyway…my “book” is in the works but its slow going when one has to work for a living and also my perspective keeps changing. Frustrating.
    Tony’s name and the town of Truro are back in the media with the coverage of the Christa Worthington murder trail now on court TV. I guess it was inevitable. Thanks for all the responses. I’ll be checking back. Avis

  • John

    Hi, I am just a bit curios. Why did he only go to prison for the death of two of the young ladies, when all four were found together? Thanks.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/09/19/232027.php Annette

    Hi Avis,
    I hope this “post” finds you and your family well. I haven’t talked to Peter in years…but I often think of you and your family. I say special prayers for Chelsea and hope you have peace. I hope that life is treating all of you well. You deserve much happiness. I have many fond memories of my time in P-Town and North Truro Air Base (’83 -’85).

    Take care,
    Annette

  • peter costa

    I am Tony’s eldest son. I have my own daughters now and I can’t get through a day without not only being racked with guilt for what my dad did, but also empathizing with what all those girls’ parents must have felt losing their children in such a heinous fashion. Every day I wish and pray to God that I could give my life in order to reverse what horrors my father wrought. Let no one think that the dead and their relatives are the only victims, though. Murder runs deep. I will bear the psychological scars all my life of being a six year old boy having to deal with the fact that his dad killed and mutilated women and probably had sex with their dead bodies. I will never fully grow up, for I was never allowed to be a child. I know it’s just as hard for my mom and siblings. This heavy heart I will carry with me until my own death. I pray that the victims families understand how sorry I am for what happened to them and I pray that the unbearable grief that I bear does not negatively affect my own daughters.

  • peter costa

    We shared love and laughter and we shared tears.
    We had something that should have lasted years.
    If there’s another girl like you,
    I’ll do my best to find her
    But I’ll never forget
    My sweet Annette-
    And the love she left behind her.
    When i go to sleep at night
    I pretend that all is well
    But all I think of is Annette
    And I can’t forget that smell-
    The perfume of a girl I thought I knew
    That I didn’t know so well.

  • Annette in MD

    Something told me to look here today…Hi Peter! You are a very special person with an INCREDIBLE mind, memory and good heart. Please remember “It’s not your fault!” You, your Mom, brother and sister are also victims…I still say a special prayer and hope that you will find true peace and happiness. I know in my heart that you are an excellent Dad and your girls are lucky to have you and need you around. I will always have a special place for you in my heart. Please take good care of yourself…be happy.

  • peter costa

    i miss you

  • Annette

    me too…

  • peter costa

    call me if you like. I’m now in the book.(N truro)and happily divorced for 4 years. Imagine running into each other this way after all this time. Small world. RD says hey

  • avis johnson

    I guess it pays to check back now and again.
    It was sweet to hear from Annette.
    We never know the impact we have on each others’ lives.
    Loss and changes keep coming but love abides.
    avis

  • Chaplain

    Hello Voya. I know it’s been years since you wrote this but it’s very good. Captures the darkness. Pat Walsh was my daughter’s favorite teacher. I told her Costa killed her so he could take her car. It changed the way she looked at life. It changed the lives of many people.
    When she was older she read ‘In His Garden’ and later thanked me for sugar coating it for her.
    If there was any question as to whether pure evil walks the earth, Costa answered it.
    Very nicely written Voya.

  • Chaplain

    Reading some of the other comments…
    Nichole doesn’t appreciate your post and Avis is still thinking of writing her own book.
    Don’t know what to say.
    When it comes to narcissism I guess the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.
    Hope that’s not true of necrophilia.