The Texas Chainsaw Customer
This is the man they nicknamed “Odd Bob.”
He is the subject of this month’s episode, that is, my acquaintance with him.
I worked in a camera store in Buffalo and Robert Elmer Kleasen, a photography buff, was a customer of ours for a short time. He was also an ex-Texas death row inmate.
His story goes back to 1974, only a few weeks after the premiere of the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Kleasen was then arrested for the murder of two Mormon missionaries in Texas.
The man with a huge gun collection and an explosive temper was obsessed with killing deer and hung out in a taxidermy place in Austin. He was also trying to become a Mormon, who were dubious of him. He invited the two unfortunate missionaries over for some venison steak and they were never seen again. Nor have not been found. The DNA evidence was always there, remains were found on his chainsaw, but the technology had not been developed in those days.
Kleasen was arrested, put on death row and stayed there for over two years. Even though evidence was stacked against him, they released him because initially his trailer park home was illegally searched. He went to New York State where he was arrested again for shooting a hunter and served twelve more years.
He was let out of prison in New York in 1988 and tried to set up residence in Rochester but the residents would not have him. He went back to his hometown Buffalo where he lived for about a year. That’s when I made my acquaintence with this scary individual.
He left Buffalo for Great Britain in 1990 where he married an unsuspecting widow and resumed his avid gun collection. He actually became a police advisor for firearms when he was arrested again for overseas firearms violations. Now wheelchair bound, Kleason was in custody and awaiting extradition to Texas who wanted him back for the retrial for the infamous double murders. He died of a heart attack in British prison, aged 70 in 2001.Uncategorized