Bernard Hunwick / Hit Man of Fort Lauderdale Dies at Age 67 in Prison


Bernard “Barry the Bear” Hunwick was an infamous hit-man in the 1980’s, in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Berneard Hunwick received two life sentences in 1999, after being convicted in federal court in a murder-for-hire sting.
Hunwick’s fate was actually sealed in 1982 when police fingered him as the leader of a six-man hit squad responsible for as many as 300 murders across the country. However, prosecutors were only able to pin one death on him, and he (Bernard) pleaded no contest to the murder of convicted cocaine smuggler and bail bondsman Richard Diego Messina.
Messina’s throat-slashed body was found stuffed in the trunk of a stolen car in Wilton Manors.

In the federal sting, using an accomplice-turned-informant, Berand Hunwick was caught as he planned to murder an undercover FBI agent who posed as a drug dealer.


Tim Schiavone, owner of the World Famous Parrot Lounge, worked with Bernard Hunwick in the 1970’s. He described the handsome, 6-foot-2, bouncer / bartender as “a folklore legend in the bad-ass community,” stating that Barry was unbeatable at arm-wrestling or in a fight.

Schiavone said that he saw Bernard, on more than one occasion, methodically beat up guys to within an inch of their lives, then go about what he was doing as if nothing had happened. I’ve seen a lot of tough guys, I’ve never seen anybody as tough or as mean as Bernard Hunwick. He was good to me, but I was always a little bit scared of him, because I knew what he was capable of doing.


Police arrested Bernard Hunwick in 1982 when Allen Chafin survived a hit and pointed out Hunwick as one of two men who tried to kill him. The arrest created an international stir when investigators said Hunwick had possibly committed more than 100 murders.

Bernard was acquitted however when an illegal search warrant revealed silencers, brass knuckles and an explosive device linked to Hunwick inside a locker.

More than 15 years later, the other hit man identified by Chafin, Reid Robert Hawley, became an informant for local and federal authorities in the murder-for-hire sting. Bernard was again arrested with a rare .22-caliber pistol with silencer designed to shoot underwater.

The evidence collected in the process turned up much more, including Hunwick implicating himself in the Messina murder.

During the 1980’s, Bernard Hunwick developed a flamboyant reputation, driving around in a Jaguar and marrying a former Playboy bunny.

Despite his violent criminal reputation, his last wife said that wasn’t the Barry she knew. Her Barry was always very nice, very kind, very talented.

Well talent or no talent. this bad ass hit men went to prison and it was while in prison that he died at the age 67.

credit – inmate aid