Boston Strangler – 1962-1964

By | January 3, 2017

There was not one iota of physical evidence to link DeSalvo to the killings


Eight of the Boston victmis. Top, from left to right: Rachel Lazarus, Helen Blake, Ida Irga, J. Delaney.
Bottom: Patricia Bissette, Daniela Saunders, Mary Sullivan and Israel Goldberg


The Boston Strangler is one of America’s most famous killers — he is also a mystery. The first killing was that of divorcée Anna E. Slesers, 55, on 14 June 1962 on Gainsborough Street, Boston. She was strangled with the cord of her blue dressing gown and sexually assaulted. Two weeks later the oldest victim Mary Mullen, 85, died from a heart attack during an attack. On 30 June there was a double killing: Nina Nicols, 68, and Helen Blake, 65, were both sexually molested and strangled with their own nylon stockings. On 19 August Ida Irga, 75, became the fifth victim, followed the next day by Jane Sullivan, 67, who was found slumped over the bath. On 5 December Sophie Clark, 19, became the first black victim when she was strangled with her stockings and sexually assaulted.

On New Year’s Eve Patricia Bissette, 23, was victim number eight. Unlike the other victims she was not left displayed nude but laid out on her bed with a blanket up to her chin. On 9 March 1963 Mary Brown, 69, was stabbed and beaten to death. On 6 May Beverly Samans, 23, was stabbed 22 times. On 8 September Evelyn Corbin, 58, was raped and strangled with her nylon stockings. The penultimate victim was Joann Graff, 23, who was murdered on 23 November.

The last and youngest victim was Mary Sullivan, 19, who was murdered on 4 January 1964. When her body was discovered, a broomstick was poking out of her vagina and a New Year card was wedged between the toes of her left foot. On 27 October another woman was attacked and this led to the identification of Albert DeSalvo, a 33-year-old rapist. However, the police did not regard DeSalvo as a suspect.


Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Thursday 14 June 1962 – Saturday 4 January 1964


It was not until 3 November 1965, when DeSalvo was held on a rape charge, that he gave a detailed confession to the Boston stranglings. However, there was not one iota of physical evidence to link DeSalvo to the killings.

His lawyer F. Lee Bailey engineered that DeSalvo was tried not as the Boston Strangler but as The Green Man and The Measuring Man, identities under which he had committed earlier crimes. In 1967 DeSalvo was sentenced to life in prison. He was murdered in prison on 26 November 1973. Doubts exist as to whether DeSalvo was the Strangler and lawyers working on behalf of his family are attempting to prove his innocence.

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