The Boston Strangler – Serial Killer

The Boston Strangler was probably the most notorious
criminal that Boston, Massachusetts has ever known. But
who was the Boston Strangler? Was he Albert DeSalvo,
the person who confessed and went to jail for these
crimes? Is he someone that took his secret to the grave and
let an innocent man take the blame for his crime? Or is he
still walking the streets of Boston, or even the streets of
another city? We may never know for sure because based
on all the evidence I’ve read, in my opinion Albert DeSalvo
was not the famed Boston Strangler. The Boston Strangler
wreaked havoc on the city from June 1962 until January
1964. He claimed the lives of thirteen women, ages ranging
from 85 years old to 19 years old. The first victim had been
raped and her bathrobe tie wrapped around her neck in a
bow in June 1964. The next victim, was 85 year old Mary
Mullen, she was not technically killed by the strangler, but
rather a fatal heart attack when confronted by him. On June
30th, 1962, Helen Blake met death at the hands of the
strangler. Next was 68 year old Nina Nichols. The fifth
victim was 75 year old Ida Irga. On August 20th, 1962
Jane Sullivan had been raped and strangled with her nylons.

The only black woman to be killed by the hands of the
Boston Strangler was Sophie Clark. On December 30th,
1962, 23 year old Patricia Bissette was killed. Then 68
year old Mary Brown met her fate. In August 1963,
Beverly Samans met the strangler, she was stabbed instead
of strangled and was not raped, but the police still thought it
was the strangler’s work. The next victim was Evelyn
Corbin . On November 11th 1963, Joann Graff was found
raped and strangled in her apartment. But the Boston
Strangler was getting sloppy, because he allowed himself to
be seen. A man that lived upstairs from Joann reported to
police a man had knocked on the door across the hall from
his and inquired about Ms. Graff, when he told the man
where she lived he quickly left, but not without being seen.

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The final murder occurred on January 4th 1964. The victim
was Mary Sullivan. She was the youngest of the strangler’s
victims. Susan Kelly in The Boston Stranglers: The Public
Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven
Shocking Murders makes a persuasive argument for
DeSalvo being innocent of the strangling murders. She cites
a number of reasons why she and others still believed that
DeSalvo was innocent. One of the strongest of these
reasons is that there was “not one shred of physical
evidence that connected him to any of the murders.” Nor
could any eyewitness place him at or even near any of the
crime scenes. Albert had a relatively memorable face,
particularly because of his prominent, beak-like nose. The
Strangler (or Stranglers, since some experts believe that it
had to be at least two different murderers and possibly
more) was seen by a number of eyewitnesses. One was
Kenneth Rowe, the engineering student who lived on the
floor above Joann Graffs apartment. He spoke to the
stranger who was looking for her apartment just before she
was killed. When Rowe was shown a photo of Albert
DeSalvo, he did not recognize him as the man looking for
Joann. Another point to make is serial killers tend to follow
a pattern. The Boston strangler did not. He chose woman
of all different ages and backgrounds, which leads me to
believe that it was more than one person committing these
crimes. No one can know for sure why DeSalvo would
confess to crimes he didn’t commit, but one reason could
be money. When Albert was conferring with his lawyer, he
asked him if confessing could bring money to his family by
ways of books and interviews. His attorney said probably
and Albert then quickly confessed. On the night before
DeSalvo was killed by another inmate in prison, he called
his attorney and told him he had something important to tell
him and to come see him the next day. Unfortunately we
will never know what Albert had to say, because he was
stabbed through the heart and killed, but I think he wanted
to tell his lawyer who the Boston Strangler really was.

Works consulted: 1. Bailey, F. Lee. The Defense Never
Rests New York: Mass Market Paperbacks, 1995. 2.

Kelly, Susan. The Boston Stranglers; The Wrongful
Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven
Shocking Murders. Los Angeles: Carol Publishing Group.

1995 3.Frank,Gerold. The Boston Strangler. Boston: New
American Library, Inc.1966 4. Banks, Harold K. The
Strangler! The Story of Terror in Boston: A Prize-Winning
Newspaperman’s On-The-scene Account; New York:
Avon Books, 1967. 5. The Boston Strangler–Tony Curtis,
Henry Fonda, George Kennedy. 20th century Fox. 1968
6. Frasier, David K. Murder Cases of the Twentieth
Century: Biographies and Bibliographies of 280 Convicted
or Accused Killers New York: McFarland & Company,
Inc. Publishers. 1996 7. APB news online.(1998)online.

Internet. 12 Nov 1999. available FTP: