Michael Woodmansee

Victim: Jason Foreman, five

Age at time of murder: 16

Crime location: South Kingstown

Crime date: May 18, 1975

Crimes: Kidnapping, murder of a child, & cannibalism

Weapon: Knife

Murder method: Stab to the heart

Murder motivation: Entertainment

Convictions: Guilty plea to second-degree murder

Sentence: 40 years

Incarceration status: Released from prison and committed to a psychiatric hospital


Woodmansee kidnapped little Jason and stabbed him to death and then admittedly ate his flesh. Woodmansee was not apprehended until 1982 when he attempted to murder another boy. During the time between Jason’s murder and the attempted murder of the other boy, Woodmansee kept Jason’s bones on his dresser as trophies. Woodmansee was sentenced to 40 years after as plea bargain, only to be released after 28 years due to good behavior. However, upon release, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital.


A small town in Rhode Island is bracing for the release of a high-profile child killer this summer who is leaving prison after serving 28 years of a 40-year sentence for the grisly murder of a neighbor’s child.

VIDEO: John Foreman vows to kill John Woodmansee for murdering his son in 1975.

Dad Vows to Kill His Son’s Murderer

It’s been 36 years since John Foreman last saw his 5-year old son Jason. The boy was abducted from in front of their family home in Kingston, R.I. The boy’s disappearance was a mystery for seven years until it was discovered that their 16 year old teenage neighbor, Michael Woodmansee, had killed him. But the truth behind what Woodmansee did to Jason Foreman shocked the community. Police found Jason’s body inside Woodmansee’s filthy home after he confessed. Several of the boy’s small bones had been shellacked and stored in the killer’s bedroom. A plea bargain spared his father and the rest of the Foreman family from learning the rest of the gruesome details of what happened to young Jason. As part of the plea deal Woodmansee was sentenced to 40 years. Now, after 28 years of good behavior, he is leaving prison 12 years early. His release is now set for August. And John Foreman can barely hold back.

“Initial feelings were I wanted to kill him the same way he killed my son. I wanted to hurt him bad,” Foreman told Good Morning America. “I wanted him to suffer … And those feelings are still in my head every day, that’s the problem. I can’t get ’em out of my mind.”

And Foreman is not the only one who opposed to Woodmansee’s early release. The town of Kingston has rallied around the grieving father, demanding the state block Woodmansee’s release. Two psychiatrists will now interview the killer in prison and read his graphic journal. What they discover could help decide if Woodmansee will instead be released to a mental hospital. Few have read the contents of that journal, which has been locked under seal for decades. But retired detective Ronald Hawksley, the lead detective on the case that put Woodmansee behind bars 28 years ago, remembers the horrors within it. 

“It was just — my stomach just went upside-down. It was unbelievable. I’d seen a lot — in the past and I’d never seen anything like this,” Hawksley recalled.

Even so, some prison officials are saying that blocking Woodmansee’s release in August is a long-shot.

“We are all human beings and some of what we have to deal with is very upsetting to us and we have personal feelings,” said A.T. Wall, director of Rhode Island Dept of Corrections.

“You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to agree with it, I don’t have to like it, I don’t have to agree with it — but we have to follow the law and the law says that he is getting out.”

The family is still rattled 30 years later. Decades after his brother’s abduction and murder, John Foreman, Jr. won’t step on the property where his little brother was killed — which sits about 100 feet from his childhood home. And to this day he still fights back tears. “I want to burn [the house] to the ground. If I ever won the lottery, that’s the first thing I’d do. I’d just tear it down. Maybe that would give dad some peace,” John Foreman Jr. told “GMA.” Thirty-six years after his youngest son was killed John Foreman Sr. still wakes up screaming. He says the only thing keeping him in control is his family, and his wife, who is battling cancer. But he does warn that he now keeps a 9-inch long tool inside his truck … just in case his son’s killer crosses his path. Foreman has strong, threatening words for his son’s killer.

“Stay out of sight, stay out of my way,” he told GMA. “Or you’re gonna be hurt. You’re gonna be hurt badly.”

From Crime Victim Blog – Tina Trent, PhD
In Rhode Island the father of five-year old murder victim Jason Foreman made headlines by announcing that he will kill the man who killed his son if the state goes ahead with plans to release Michael Woodmansee from prison twelve years early, on the grounds of his “good behavior” behind bars. In 1975, Woodmansee kidnapped 5-year old Jason Foreman and stabbed the child to death.  He then watched from a close proximity (he was a neighbor) as Foreman’s anguished parents searched — for seven years — for their child.  But that is not all he did.  He cleaned and shellacked Jason’s skull and bones and stored them on his bedroom dresser, telling his father that they were theatrical props.  He indulged himself by auditioning for and receiving the role of a murder suspect in a local production of an Agatha Christie play.  He ambushed and attacked at least one other boy, who escaped, leading to his exposure for the earlier crime.

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Murder of Jason Foreman

Michael Woodmansee | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Michael Woodmansee, of Rhode Island, murdered five-year-old Jason Foreman in 1975. Woodmansee, 16, kidnapped the boy and stabbed him to death. He cleaned and shellacked Jason’s bones and stored them on his dresser. Woodmansee also admitted in a journal that he ate some of Jason’s flesh. He also recorded other gruesome details in his journal. The content was so graphic that the court ordered it to be sealed. Woodmansee was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty and was released after 28 years in 2011. He was committed to the Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston.


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