Frankford Slasher – 1985-1990

By | January 3, 2017

“Maybe I killed her”


The police sketch of Frankford Slasher


This case remains unsolved 18 years after the last killing. Eight women were stabbed and sexually assaulted. The first to die was 52-year-old Helen Patent who lived in Parkland, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She died on 19 August 1985. It was a week before she was found, naked from the waist down, with her legs open and her top pulled up to bare her breasts. Reports state that she was stabbed 47 times. Five months later, on 3 January 1986, Anna Carroll, 68, was killed. She lived on the 1400 block of Ritner Street and was discovered naked from the waist down, with a kitchen knife still in her. Susan Olszef, 64, was killed on Christmas Day 1986 at her home on Richmond Street. All three women had been regulars at the Golden Bar, or Goldie’s, a bar that has now been demolished.

On 8 January 1987 Jeanne Durkin, a 28-year-old former go-go dancer and homeless woman who slept on the street near Goldie’s, was murdered and left under a lorry. She had been sexually assaulted, stabbed 74 times and wrapped in an overcoat. Not long after, Catherine M. Jones, 29, was murdered. Some do not connect her to the slasher killings because she had no stab wounds and was not sexually assaulted. On 11 November 1988 Margaret Vaughan, 66, was found stabbed to death in the apartment building on Penn Street from which she had just been evicted.

Three months later, on 19 January 1989, Theresa Sciortino, 30, was discovered in her home on Arrott Street. She was naked apart from a pair of white socks and had been butchered. Several eyewitnesses placed Vaughn and Sciortino with a middle-aged white man. An identikit picture was drawn but no arrests were made. Early on 29 April 1990 Carol Dowd, a 46-year-old woman with a history of mental illness, was discovered stabbed three dozen times behind Newman’s Seafood on Frankford Avenue. Her left nipple had been removed.

The next day police questioned Leonard Christopher, who worked at Newman’s. Two prostitutes placed Christopher at the scene of the crime, with a large utility knife tucked in his belt, at the time of the murders. He was arrested and charged with Carol Dowd’s murder. His boss, Jaesa Phang, said that Christopher had said to her, “Maybe I killed her.”

On 12 December 1990 Christopher was convicted. Many presumed that he had also committed the Frankford Slasher killings but one major fact seemed to dispute this — eyewitnesses had described a middle-aged white man and Leonard Christopher is black. On 6 September 1990 Michelle Dehner (aka Martin) was murdered in her Arrott Street apartment and, after that, the slasher killings stopped.


Frankford, Pennsylvania, USA


Monday 19 August 1985-Thursday 6 September 1990


Who was the Frankford Slasher? And did Leonard Christopher really murder Carol Dowd? He said, “I was railroaded. I didn’t kill Carol Dowd. I did not even know Carol Dowd. I was implicated by prostitutes… that the police put up.”

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