The Boston Strangler was probably the most notoriouscriminal that Boston, Massachusetts has ever known. Butwho was the Boston Strangler? Was he Albert DeSalvo,the person who confessed and went to jail for thesecrimes? Is he someone that took his secret to the grave andlet an innocent man take the blame for his crime? Or is hestill walking the streets of Boston, or even the streets ofanother city? We may never know for sure because basedon all the evidence I’ve read, in my opinion Albert DeSalvowas not the famed Boston Strangler.
The Boston Stranglerwreaked havoc on the city from June 1962 until January1964. He claimed the lives of thirteen women, ages rangingfrom 85 years old to 19 years old. The first victim had beenraped and her bathrobe tie wrapped around her neck in abow in June 1964. The next victim, was 85 year old MaryMullen, she was not technically killed by the strangler, butrather a fatal heart attack when confronted by him. On June30th, 1962, Helen Blake met death at the hands of thestrangler.
Next was 68 year old Nina Nichols. The fifthvictim was 75 year old Ida Irga. On August 20th, 1962Jane Sullivan had been raped and strangled with her nylons.
The only black woman to be killed by the hands of theBoston Strangler was Sophie Clark. On December 30th,1962, 23 year old Patricia Bissette was killed. Then 68year old Mary Brown met her fate. In August 1963,Beverly Samans met the strangler, she was stabbed insteadof strangled and was not raped, but the police still thought itwas the strangler’s work. The next victim was EvelynCorbin . On November 11th 1963, Joann Graff was foundraped and strangled in her apartment. But the BostonStrangler was getting sloppy, because he allowed himself tobe seen. A man that lived upstairs from Joann reported topolice a man had knocked on the door across the hall fromhis and inquired about Ms. Graff, when he told the manwhere she lived he quickly left, but not without being seen.
The final murder occurred on January 4th 1964. The victimwas Mary Sullivan. She was the youngest of the strangler’svictims. Susan Kelly in The Boston Stranglers: The PublicConviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of ElevenShocking Murders makes a persuasive argument forDeSalvo being innocent of the strangling murders. She citesa number of reasons why she and others still believed thatDeSalvo was innocent. One of the strongest of thesereasons is that there was “not one shred of physicalevidence that connected him to any of the murders.” Norcould any eyewitness place him at or even near any of thecrime scenes. Albert had a relatively memorable face,particularly because of his prominent, beak-like nose. TheStrangler (or Stranglers, since some experts believe that ithad to be at least two different murderers and possiblymore) was seen by a number of eyewitnesses. One wasKenneth Rowe, the engineering student who lived on thefloor above Joann Graffs apartment. He spoke to thestranger who was looking for her apartment just before shewas killed. When Rowe was shown a photo of AlbertDeSalvo, he did not recognize him as the man looking forJoann. Another point to make is serial killers tend to followa pattern. The Boston strangler did not. He chose womanof all different ages and backgrounds, which leads me tobelieve that it was more than one person committing thesecrimes. No one can know for sure why DeSalvo wouldconfess to crimes he didn’t commit, but one reason couldbe money. When Albert was conferring with his lawyer, heasked him if confessing could bring money to his family byways of books and interviews. His attorney said probablyand Albert then quickly confessed. On the night beforeDeSalvo was killed by another inmate in prison, he calledhis attorney and told him he had something important to tellhim and to come see him the next day. Unfortunately wewill never know what Albert had to say, because he wasstabbed through the heart and killed, but I think he wantedto tell his lawyer who the Boston Strangler really was.
Works consulted: 1. Bailey, F. Lee. The Defense NeverRests New York: Mass Market Paperbacks, 1995. 2.
Kelly, Susan. The Boston Stranglers; The WrongfulConviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of ElevenShocking Murders. Los Angeles: Carol Publishing Group.
1995 3.Frank,Gerold. The Boston Strangler. Boston: NewAmerican Library, Inc.1966 4. Banks, Harold K. TheStrangler! The Story of Terror in Boston: A Prize-WinningNewspaperman’s On-The-scene Account; New York:Avon Books, 1967. 5. The Boston Strangler–Tony Curtis,Henry Fonda, George Kennedy. 20th century Fox. 19686. Frasier, David K. Murder Cases of the TwentiethCentury: Biographies and Bibliographies of 280 Convictedor Accused Killers New York: McFarland & Company,Inc. Publishers. 1996 7. APB news online.(1998)online.
Internet. 12 Nov 1999. available FTP:www.apbonline.com Psychology
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