“Back in them days, the city was scared. They needed an arrest. They got a scapegoat”
For 14 months in 1965 and 1966 the elderly women of Cincinnati were subjected to a reign of terror that left seven dead and one injured. The first attack occurred on 12 October when the Cincinnati Strangler beat and raped a 65-year-old woman but failed to strangle her with a plastic clothes line.
Six weeks later, on 2 December, Emogene Harrington was murdered with a length of plastic clothes line in the basement of her apartment building. On 4 April 1966, the Monday before Easter, 58-year-old Lois Dant was raped and strangled in her first-floor Cincinnati apartment. On 10 June Jeannette Messer, 56, was discovered in a park, raped and strangled with a tie. On 12 October her daughter found 51-year-old Mrs Carl Hochhausler in the garage. She had been beaten, raped and strangled.
On 20 October, 81-year-old Rose Winstsel was strangled with an electric cord in her home. On 9 December octogenarian Lula Kerrick was strangled, but not raped, in the lift of her apartment building.
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Tuesday 12 October 1965—Friday 9 December 1966
In mid December 1966 former taxi driver Posteal Laskey was arrested and charged with the murder of a seventh victim, Barbara Rose Bowman, 31, whose body was found on 14 August 1966, near a taxi. She had been stabbed several times in the neck and her ankle broken.
It was believed Laskey had run her down with the cab and then fled. He was convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair, commuted to life imprisonment in 1972, but was never charged with the other murders.
However, the police were confident of his guilt and, since the killings ended after his incarceration, they were almost certainly correct in that assumption. Naturally, his family disagreed. “Back in them days, the city was scared,” said Laskey’s brother, Russell. “They needed an arrest. They got a scapegoat.” Laskey died, aged 69, on 29 May 2007 of natural causes at the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient in central Ohio. No one claimed his body and it was interred in a prison cemetery.