The Untold Truth About American Serial Killer – Joseph Kallinger

March 22, 2024
4 mins read

Who is Joseph Kallinger?

Joseph Lee Brenner III was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA, on 11 December 1935 – his zodiac sign was Sagittarius, and he held American nationality. He was a serial killer and a rapist who killed three people, and then with his 12-year-old son Michael, tortured four families.

Early life and education

Joseph was born to Judith, who was a housewife, and Joseph Lee Brenner, Jr. who was a manual worker. Judith abandoned the family when Joseph was still very young, and as his father was unwilling to raise him by himself, Joseph was placed in foster care in December 1937.

On 15 October 1939, when he was nearly four years old, Americans of Austrian descent Anna and Stephen Kallinger adopted him.

Joseph’s adoptive parents seriously abused him as soon as he was adopted, and at the age of six, he suffered a hernia after his adoptive father had badly beaten him. His adoptive parents had numerous ways to punish him, including eating excrement, locking him up in closets, burning him with irons, and starving him; when Joseph was nine years old, several neighborhood boys sexually assaulted him.

Even though having a tough upbringing, Joseph dreamed of becoming a playwright, and at the age of 15, he played Ebenezer Scrooge in the production of “A Christmas Carol” performed at his high school.


It was around the same time that he met Hilda Bergman, and asked her out on a date; his adoptive parents didn’t allow them to date, but Joseph didn’t care, and they eventually married.

Murders and tortures

Joseph was highly abusive towards his children, and treated them the same way his adoptive parents had treated him. His children went to the police station in 1972, when Joseph was 37 years old, and he was arrested; he had to take an intelligence quotient (IQ) test there, and scored 82; he was then diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and several psychiatrists recommended that someone should monitor Joseph while he was at home; however, his children soon changed their stories, and Joseph was thus released from jail.

In 1974, Joseph took out a life insurance policy on his sons, and only a couple of weeks later, his son Joseph Jr. was found dead. Joseph was interrogated, and claimed that his son had run away from home, and probably hid at the abandoned construction site at which he was found, but the insurance company still claimed that Joseph lied, and didn’t pay out the insurance.

By the end of the year, Joseph and his other son Michael, who was 12 years old at that time, began committing crimes in New Jersey, Baltimore and Philadelphia. In a month and a half, they had robbed and sexually assaulted four families, after having pretended that they were salesmen, and were thus granted entrance into their homes.


On 8 January 1975, Joseph and Michael came to Leonia in New Jersey, and entered the home of three people; they tied them up, as well as the others who later came into the house. The two had a gun and a knife, and they ended up killing the 21 years old nurse Maria Fasching by stabbing her in the neck, after she had refused to take off her clothes. One of the kidnaped people managed to escape and cry for help in the street; neighbors called the police, but by the time they came, Joseph and Michael were already gone.


The police found a bloody shirt near the crime scene, and neighbors stated that they’d seen a man with his son in the area.

Joseph Kallinger

They were soon looking into Joseph’s records, and learned about his abusive parents, as well as about his son’s unresolved death. Joseph and Michael were then arrested for kidnaping and rape, and Joseph was charged with killing a neighborhood boy, the nurse Maria Fasching and his own son.

Joseph claimed that he was insane, and that God made him kill people, however, the psychiatrists found him sane, and he was sentenced to spend his life behind bars on 14 October 1976. Michael was sent to a reformatory school, and after he turned 21, he was released, moved to another state and changed his name.


While in prison, Joseph tried to kill himself multiple times, including attempting to set himself on fire; he was thus moved to a mental institution, and on 18 May 1979, was transferred to a Philadelphia mental hospital.

In 1976, the late American journalist Flora Rheta Schreiber interviewed Joseph, and co-authored the book “The Shoemaker: The Anatomy of a Psychotic” which was published in 1983 by Simon & Schuster.


On 26 March 1996, aged 60, Joseph died of heart failure; for an entire decade prior to his death, he was on suicide watch.

Love life and marriages

In 1952, aged 16, Joseph married Hilda Bergman, against the wishes of their parents. She gave birth to their two children, however, because Joseph was extremely abusive towards her, she left him four years later, and their divorce was finalized in 1956.

On 4 September 1957, Joseph was taken to St. Mary’s hospital after having suffered severe headaches, and not having eaten for several days; this was believed to be because of stress caused by the divorce.

On 20 April 1958, he married his second wife Elizabeth Baumgard, and she gave birth to their five children.


Joseph was also abusive towards Elizabeth and their children, but she didn’t want to leave him, and they stayed married until his death.

While in jail, the editor Michael Korda, who worked at Simon & Schuster, became very close to Joseph; the two talked over the phone very often, they occasionally sent letters to each other, while Joseph also sent Michael Christmas cards every year. Some claim that the two might had been in love, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

Age, height and net worth

Joseph was 60 years old at the time of his death. He had short brown hair and brown eyes, his height was 5ft 7ins (1.7m) and he weighed around 150lbs (68kgs).

At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at $10,000.

Olivia Wilson

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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