The Boston Strangler

– Serial Killer Essay, Research Paper

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.

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 Graff?s 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:



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