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.

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9 Responses to “The Texas Chainsaw Customer”

  1. kELLY Says:

    Actually, Ed Gein was the subject of the film “Psycho.” He was from Wisconsin (like me!) and was still alive and in the looney bin when I was a Badger.

  2. It’s JerryTime! » Blog Archive » EPISODE 10: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW CUSTOMER Says:

    […] Read about t “Odd Bob” […]

  3. uoyte wtel Says:

    odd bob..glad youre dead you *_($&*!#&^ …no baptism for this dead !*(^*%$* please

  4. Kurai Says:

    wierd, he looks like a really nice guy. Guess you never know who you can trust, *gasp* my neighbor is here.

  5. UKBunny Says:

    Ed Gein was the basis for a number of horror film sociopaths. Buffalo Bill’s woman suit in “The silence of the lambs” was based on some of the things Gein did.
    I think they also found evidence that he ate some parts of the bodies he dug up and the women he killed…
    “I have to go agent Starling, I’m having an old friend for dinner…”

  6. Jerry Says:

    It’s well-documented that TTCM is loosely based on Gein, except Gein didn’t own a chainsaw. Kleasen’s murders happened several weeks after the premiere of the movie in 1974 which leads me to think maybe he was a copycat. There was a documentary produced about Kleasen called “The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The definitive word on him is “Evil Among Us,” the excellent book by Kenneth Driggs.

  7. Ken JP Stuczynski Says:

    He shopped at the Hills store in Williamsville/Clarence (Buffalo Suburbia), where I worked at the time. I only saw him once, and he pretty much just hung out in the home and garden section (ironically), talking to himself. I think I asked if he needed anything and he pretty much ignored the staff.

  8. ozonetv Says:

    They’ve taken the trailer from the documentary on Robert Kleasen offline. You can read about it here though:

  9. jimbro Says:

    kleasen was born in buffalo, ny – was a jail guard for erie county sheriff’s department as a young man

    after texas release, did time in ny prison for earlier wayne county [ny] ricochet wounding of trespasser on family farm – parole release in buffalo prompted losing legal fight to keep him out – then off to uk, etc, etc

    prior to texas, kleasen claimed spent time early 1960’s employed as sharpshooter assassin for cia – claimed to have won live pigeon shooting competition in mexico city circa 1961-62

    my hunch he was dallas grassy knoll shooter 11-22-63