The Ultimate Cold Case: Authorities Subpoena Man in 1982 Tylenol Case

Federal authorities have subpoenaed James W. Lewis in an investigation of the 27-year-old case of the poisoning of Tylenol capsules that led to the deaths of four women, two men and a 12-year-old girl, died in 1982 in the Chicago area.

Lewis is now 63 and authorities are seeking fingerprint and DNA samples from him and his wife. Lewis served more than 12 years in prison for sending an extortion note to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to “stop the killing.” He was never charged with murder and said that he never intended to collect the money.

In 1982, Lewis was an out-of-work accountant and said that he was merely trying to embarrass his wife’s former employer by having the money sent to the employer’s bank account.

Lewis has been in and out of prison on a remarkably wide range of alleged crimes.

He served two years of a 10-year sentence for tax fraud. In 1978, he was charged in Kansas City in a bizarre murder where a former client was dismembered. The charges in the murder of Raymond West, 72, were later dropped. Then in 2004, he was charged with rape, kidnapping and other offenses for an alleged attack on a woman in Cambridge. He was jailed for three years pending trial, but this case was also dropped when the victim refused to testify.

His last known job was as a web designed in a company called Cyberlewis, which included a link at one time that identified him as the “Tylenol Man.”

For the story, click here and here.

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Cold Case: Authorities Subpoena Man in 1982 Tylenol Case”

  1. rafflaw,

    So is Bush and Cheney, Do you think that we can tie them to the Tylenol stuff?

  2. This story really takes me back. The Tylenol murders were going on as I was graduating from Law School in Chicago. This Lewis guy is a real weird creep. If he didn’t tamper with the Tylenol, I would be amazed. He is one scary wingnut.

  3. Good grief! What a creep. It’s like he was bragging about the murder with his sick internet moniker. Of course, innocent until proven…I had no idea they had not caught the creep that did this. during my nearly 20-year career in public relations, tylenol’s handling of this crisis has remained the best case study in crisis communications. they were so ahead of their time in how they dealt with this tragedy. they put customers first – pulling every bottle from every shelf in every city, state, nation. they invested who knows how much in tamper-proof bottles. they won back their customers. the peanut butter folks haven’t had as much luck, huh?

  4. I don’t think I want this guy doing my taxes unless he works in the city, NJ or Nevada. I understand that KC has some people who do excellent accounting. One bullet atween the eyes makes one fish fodder.

  5. This was the true beginning of the War on Terror.

    Millions of bottles of all kinds of nonprescription medicines were removed from store shelves around the entire nation. The entire pharmaceutical industry adopted new FDA guidelines to institute tamper-proof packaging for all medications. People with arthritic fingers and paralyzed limbs die every year from not being able to open the fuckers. Those deaths can’t occur to anyone randomly; THAT is what terrifies us. Our whole society can be so easily controlled by a single anonymous person- a madman at that.

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