Thomas Huskey / The Zoo Man / Blames His Alter Ego for the Murders

huskey-002Thomas Huskey

He swore another man killed those four women. His name was Kyle. He had the ‘Zoo Man’s’ voice and his face. And even his hands. But, Thomas Huskey insisted, Kyle killed them, not him.

Thomas Huskey claimed to suffer from multiple personality disorder and blamed the killings on “Kyle.” Kyle was Thomas’ evil alter ego who Thomas claimed hated him and wanted to ruin his life.

Prosecutors said he faked mental illness and pulled the name from East Knoxville’s Kyle Avenue, where the Huskey family had once lived.


On February 13th in 1999, after a jury said it was unable to decide whether the defendant was insane, a mistrial was declared in the quadruple murder trial of Thomas “Zoo Man” Huskey. The 12-member panel told a judge they were deadlocked 6-6.

The defense claimed Thomas Huskey, a former zoo elephant trainer, possessed multiple personalities that he couldn’t control. One personality, “Kyle,” confessed to murdering 4 prostitutes in 1992 and tossing their lifeless bodies in the trash-strewn woods off Cahaba Lane in East Knox County, Tennessee.

The Zoo Man

Prostitutes knew Thomas Huskey as “Zoo Man” because he liked to take them to a barn near the Knoxville Zoo for sex. The “Zoo Man” has already been convicted of attacking and raping several women in 1991 and 1992, and he is now serving a 66-year sentence for those crimes.

Since his arrest in October of 1992, Thomas Huskey has met several times with Knox County investigators. Calling himself “Kyle,” he described how he met each victim, what they wore and what they did once he took them to Cahaba Lane, the place where he would bind, beat and rape the women he picked up around Magnolia Avenue.

Was He Really Insane

Dr. Jeffrey Erickson, testified for the defense saying Thomas Huskey was suffering from a brain disorder when he first examined him in 1977.

His defense also contended that as a young man, Thomas was recruited by a sado-masochistic prostitution ring which permanently scarred his psyche. Since his arrest in October, 1992, psychologist Dr. Diana McCoy repeatedly interviewed the “Zoo Man” and uncovered several of his purported multiple personalities.

She testified that Thomas Huskey reported having spells in his past in which he lost track of time. According to McCoy, Huskey was insane when he killed the four women.


A search of  Thomas Huskey’s parents’ home turned up rope, porn and jewelry detectives believed had been taken from the dead women. But investigators relied on a search warrant, issued by a city judicial commissioner, who an appellate court ruled had no authority to issue such a warrant.

The ‘Zoo Man’ case dragged on for years. Two juries found him guilty in rapes, committed before the killings. A jury, however , remained deadlocked on the murder charges in 1999.

In October 2005, 13 years after the discovery of another prostitutes body, District Attorney General Randy Nichols gave up on the murder case and charges were dismissed.

Huskey continues to serve a 64-year sentence at the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tenn. He qualifies for a parole hearing in 2012.

Hopefully he, and Kyle, are denied!

credit – murderpedia