Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Sick Legend of Castle Neck Mike

One evening, back in 1995, I was watching the tabloid "news" show Hard Copy from my living room in Waltham, MA. I tuned in just in time to see a report about a young woman named Kristen Lardner who died in 1992 at the hands of an obvious sociopath named Michael Cartier, or as the Boston locals used to refer to him: Castle Neck Mike. Mike had a full neck tattoo (depicting a castle) in the early 90's before getting a tattoo on one's neck became a common bad-assy type thing to do. He was a really sick individual with a history of drug abuse, extreme physical and mental abuse toward women and general violence. The thing that really weirded me out about the Kristen Lardner murder was that she and I traveled on the same footpaths every day.

She was a student at the Museum of Fine Arts school while I attended Massachusetts College of Art. Both less than a block from one another. She met Mike at AXIS, a club that used to be cool. My friends and I frequented that club often between the years 1990 and 1998. She worked at Marty's Liquors in Allston, not 3 blocks from where my college boyfriend lived. Watching the report on television was a surreal experience. It was also very sad, as Kristen Lardner seemed like a wonderful, caring, and promising young woman. She was perfect prey for a psycho like Cartier. After his abuse and manipulation came the stalking. He violated her restraining order, then gunned her down outside Marty's, right there on Comm Ave. He sped back to his apartment building where he shot himself.

I have since read this. It made me sick to my stomach. And really f'n angry.

I lived right in the center of all of this and don't remember hearing about it. I didn't keep up with the news much then, but geez, you'd think this sort of thing would be all over the place. In May of 1992, when the shooting occurred, I was finishing up my junior year. We were on the summer's threshold. I was about to have a mild stroke which would put me in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Still, I can't believe that I hadn't heard a shred of the story until 1995, on Hard Copy.

An old friend of mine, who briefly cohabitated with Mr. Butch, knew and feared Mike. He and his friends were a few years younger. One of his buddies had the fortune of getting one of Mike's combat boots thrown in his general direction.

In 1990, I had a brief encounter with a young man. My friend Kara and I had just moved into our first apartment on Queensberry Street in the Back Bay. It was still warm out, the semester was days away from starting. We met a couple of kids on the street and I remember thinking one of them was sort of cute. We naively invited them up to our wee studio apartment. They weren't there for long before Kara and I started feeling uneasy about the situation. I forget how they left, maybe we made something up. The next day, one of them, the less stable of the two, stood outside our building, shouted my name, and threw rocks at the windows. He eventually left and I never saw him again. I barely remember his face.

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20 Comments:

Blogger Jason said...

I worked with Kristen at Marty's, and went to BU SFA with her until she transferred out to Museum School.....she will be missed.

November 18, 2008 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 16, 2008 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I gave Kristen her first tattoo, about 4 or 5 days before she died. It was a simple black and white piece that she had drawn by hand. I had her make the stencil so it would be even more genuine. I had only met her once or twice. Nice girl.We talked about art school and things while I did the tatoo, meanwhile mike watched over with a close eye... and I mean eye, singular. Mike, I knew for 5 or 6 years... he was scary, but never thought he would ever do that. He actually looked out for me now and again. I could never defend his actions, but he wasn't ALL bad. Misunderstood... the "full neck tattoo" comment is b.s. It was a casle that started on his chest and the tower crept up the side of his neck ending around his earlobe... true though, in 1990, that was hardcore. Different times. Godspeed Kristen.

December 16, 2008 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

I remember all of this vividly, but had not seen Rose's writing on it. It breaks my heart. I had met Rose, as I had met April (another ex) and had met Kristen (she was a friend of a friend).

After having hung out with Mike once with my then-boyfriend, I avoided him after that because he gave me the creeps. I'm so glad I trusted my instincts. After his death, a few people treated him like a friggin' martyr and tagged his building about how much they missed him. It's no wonder I stopped hanging out in that scene around that time.

(I realize this post is a few years old, but I was just looking for info on Kristen and found this. Hope you don't mind.)

July 30, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

Back again.

That whole incident was the final straw for me regarding the level of misogyny and abuse in the Boston punk scene at that time. I'm glad I stopped associating.

July 30, 2009 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger tanya said...

the day i met mike he threatened to kill my dog cuz i told him to leave her alone (he was teasing her with a muffin)- said he'd cut her throat. i told him whatever he did to my dog, i would do the same to him. people told me he was dangerous but i guess i thought i was too so i never feared him. i saw him a bunch after that, not on purpose, just, you know, around. you could see he was cracked to the core. all of his friends were afraid of him & supported his bullshit. when he killed kristen it wasnt a shock. whether he killed himself or if the cops took him out was a big topic. that bunrattys pretended they didnt employ him was another. i was sad when he died. i cant imagine having to live in the skin of such a sick bastard - hardwired to hurt others to make yourself feel better. i dont know why he never put his hands on me, i am female, i threatened him... maybe refusing to be a victim protected me.
if you know anyone who is being abused, send them rose's story, maybe they will relate & spare themselves of kristen's horrible fate.
god bless...

February 18, 2011 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger James Weinberg said...

I remember this urban legend that in a bar he took a syringe extracted alittle blood and put it in a ketchup bottle. My father worked on the carts at downtown crossing and many of the punks who worked there and really liked my father. But he clearly stated stay away from that Castleneck he is a criminal. That guy was a thug and left a tragedy in his wake.

November 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Jack Knife said...

i was with this man for 2 years....i was only 17 at the time...i still get nightmares about it...and still cant get rid of the photos....

March 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It is 2013, and I still think of that awful day, I wa at work at Bunrattys that day and had just gotten a sandwich from martys. I knew Mike from other venues, he always gave off an evil vibe.I hope the laws one day get stricter, or will men like him always find a way?

March 21, 2013 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger lianji mori said...

have you heard the song that Cliff Wagner wrote about this horrible murder? 'Castleneck' on the 'Hobo's
Lullaby' album.
chorus:

when the grim reaper cut him down
an drove him to the sky
there was no one else around
no one said goodbye
they were just glad to see him die

July 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I watched that whole tradgedy take place right in front of my eyes. I worked at that sandwich shop and was having a smoke outside. I heard a "pop" and saw her fall down in front of me. Then he walked up and shot her two more times in the head point blank. It all seemed like it was in slow motion. I called 911 and was afraid to give my name. When it became a crime scene cops were interviewing me and I was afraid to say anything. Finally a detective said that he had killed himself. I never felt that kind of relief in my life , but at the same time I have never been as bothered as I was. That poor girl. It's been a long time but I find myself googling it now and again. Obviously that's how I found this blog

August 8, 2013 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger ascrobius said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 29, 2014 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger ascrobius said...

knew mike. not well, mostly from shows and a few times in groups of mutual friends. he was always friendly and cool to me but i was always on the lookout when he was around- he had this aura of imminent combustion even when laughing and joking. it was a scene full of people that were proven or potentially dangerous...but he was the only one that i was actually wary of. somehow i knew was he was capable of terrible things. the last time i saw him i ran into him at a show. it was my first opportunity to wear the new baseball jacket i'd just bought that week. it was blue with white leather sleeves and it was a big deal in the way that things like a new baseball jacket can be only when you are 15. i came to the show alone, which was unusual. i probably only went because i wanted to wear the jacket. mike was also alone, and also wearing an identical brand new blue and white sleeved baseball jacket. mike was 22 but somehow seemed even more excited about his new jacket than i was about mine. it was a weird coincidence and we were laughing about it. it was the first time he didn't make me nervous. i felt like we had bonded somehow and that maybe my previous intuition had been wrong...that maybe he wasn't capable of terrible things. i prefer to believe he wasn't wearing the new jacket that had briefly bonded us less than a week later when he shot kristin at point blank range 3 times. one shot to kill her, and two more after she was clearly dead.

October 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Cas said...

I just saw the story on darkly obsessions about him and rose. I don't know why but I find myself wanting to know more about this sick and twisted guy. I want to see what he looked like. Why would one want to see an evil person? My heart goes out to Rose and Kristen's family. RIP

January 13, 2015 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Heather Jensen said...

I was also recently drawn to this story after watching "Dark Obsession". Rose's story touched me, as I'm sure it touched lots of viewers...especially those of us who have also experienced abuse. I pray for all of Mike's victims and the families of his victims, but I also pray for Mike's soul. I feel sorry for anyone who lives such a miserable existence & causes so much pain! There was, obviously, something really wrong with Mike & I hope he has found some kind of peace on the other side. Rest in peace, Kristen, and keep on keepin' on, Rose.

January 14, 2015 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Kim Lombardo said...

i knew mike before he moved to boston when he lived in lawrence ma, he was a real sweet guy then.i never would of thought he would do something like that.

January 17, 2015 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I just finished watching dark diaries and found myself looking for pictures of this evil monster. I am glad rose found the courage to get away. I feel for Kristen and her family. My god be with all of you. Glad he's gone and can't hurt anybody else. R.I.P. Kristen.

March 15, 2015 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Mother's love said...

When I was growing up in Lawrence Ma, Mike was just one of the older kids who always hung around an made sure nobody picked on us. He was a little scary then too but nothing like this. He had a lot of issues with his mom whom I had the pleasure of meeting a year before he died, she was my next door neighbor and she had a younger daughter too but she didn't want her daughter to call her mom cause she'd say it made her seem to old an when she found out I knew Mike she'd be like yeah he's fucked up that's why I got rid of him a long time ago..It's sad to think all this could of been avoided if his mother actually acted like a mom and not a stuck up self absorbed bitch who cared more about herself and her appearance than her own kids.. So sorry to the women he hurt and all there families and friends,just sad on all accounts cause all though he went out in such a sick way an hurt so many people he too was a hurt an sad soul who always craved that love he never got as a kid..

March 23, 2016 at 2:35 AM  
Blogger Boston Hardcore said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxMfaoT6P8M

This song sums is all up. Boston Hardcore

June 1, 2016 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Martian Gardens said...

When I was a senior at North Andover High, my punk/punk wannabe friends started partying with Mr. Cartier. I met the man a couple of times, but only made eye contact with him once. I could tell he was volatile and dangerous. If we were hanging out at Denny's drinking coffee, I'd keep out of his line of sight. He was tall and strapping. He had lots of tats, and a shaven head. I was a scrap of a guy and nervous-looking. Maybe he'd decide to use me as a chew toy. No way Jose.
I knew friends of mine were drinking with him and girls I knew were necking with him in cars, at the cemetery, wherever. I affirm, he was a handsome, hunky guy. I knew girls could see a James Dean whipped puppy in his eyes right where I saw sick psychopath. I warned my friends to stay the hell away from him. Cartier was trouble and nothing more.
My friends protested he bought beer for them AND he had a really hard life. He was, like, an orphan or something, and he raised himself on the mean streets of Lawrence. I countered I could boast of a hard upbringing and terrible things happening to me too, and that they ought to separate a sorrowful narrative from a violent reality.
In 1989, Cartier strutted with his rep of petty crime, Skinhead fashion, and hurting people for no reason. He was the kind of violent alpha male bad boy girls chase for the thrill, and for the passion of taming the monster through love. I envied him because he was a high school drop out who got to screw artsy goth girls who would snub me without a second glance. Yeah, that always bugged me!
I confess to feeling more vindication for myself than sorrow for his victims when my friend told me about the murder. I was visiting North Andover after the semester ended. I was the one who told everybody to stay away from Michael Cartier. Sorry, I know it wasn't the right reaction, but it was the one I had!

November 15, 2016 at 9:25 PM  

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