Born in the Bronx and raised in Colorado, Glatman
exhibited antisocial behavior and sadomasochistic sexual tendencies from
an early age.
He was an amateur burglar and sex offender as a
teenager, breaking into women's apartments so he could tie them up,
molest them and take pictures as souvenirs. He was caught in one such
act in 1945 and charged with attempted burglary. Less than a month later,
while still out on bail awaiting trial, he kidnapped another woman and
molested her before letting her go. She went to the police, and Glatman
went to prison for eight months.
Once out of prison, Glatman moved to Albany, New York,
where he was eventually arrested in 1947 for a series of muggings. He
was given a 5–10 year prison sentence in Sing Sing Correctional Facility,
where prison psychiatrists diagnosed him as a psychopath. He was
nevertheless a model prisoner and was granted an early release in 1956.
Glatman moved to Los Angeles, California in 1957 and
started trolling around modeling agencies looking for women to satisfy
his violent sexual urges. He would contact them with offers of work for
pulp fiction magazines, take them back to his apartment, tie them up and
rape them, taking pictures all the while. He would then strangle them
and bury them in a nearby desert plot.
Glatman is also a suspect in the slaying of "Boulder
Jane Doe", a victim whose corpse was discovered by hikers near Boulder,
Colorado in 1954. Her identity remained a mystery for 55 years. In
October 2009, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by Dr. Terry Melton, of
Mitotyping Technologies in State College, Pennsylvania, that her lab had
made a match between "Jane Doe's" DNA profile and that of a woman who
thought the unidentified murder victim might be her long-lost sister.
The positive identification of "Boulder Jane Doe" was an 18 year old
woman from Phoenix, Arizona, named Dorothy Gay Howard.
Glatman was in Colorado at the time and was driving a 1951 Dodge
Coronet. The body had damage that was consistent of being hit with the
He was arrested in 1958, caught in the act of
kidnapping what would have been his fourth known victim, and confessed
to the other three murders. He was found guilty of first degree murder
and executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin State Prison on September
Parts of Glatman's career were fictionalized by Jack
Webb in a 1966 TV-movie called Dragnet (often referred to as
Dragnet 1966 to distinguish it from the 1954 theatrical release of
that name). It convinced TV executives to relaunch Dragnet as a
TV series in 1967 for a four year run. Dragnet 1966, however, was
not aired until 1969. It is notable for dialogue based on Glatman's own
statements to police, including this:
Criminal: "The reason I killed those girls was 'cause
they asked me to. (pause) They did; all of them."
Criminal: "Sure. They said they'd rather be dead than
be with me."
Capt. Pierce Brooks, LAPD, who helped trick Glatman
into revealing where his toolbox was, served as a technical advisor for
Glatman also attempted to rape and kill other girls as
he did the above three. However, these three were the only ones with
whom he was successful.
Method: Glatman would pose
as a photographer, and encourage the girls to pose bound and gagged by
saying that it was for a detective magazine. Bound like this, they were
at his mercy. He then raped them repeatedly, gloated over them for some
time, adn eventually strangled them, using the same piece of rope each
time. He took a momento of each crime - the girl's pair of knickers or
the photographs that he had taken. Ruth Mercado had touched him in a
different way to the other two, and he liked her. Apparently he didn't
really want to kill her.
Sentence: Glatman asked for
the death sentence, and this is what he got. On the 18th August 1959, he
died in the gas chamber.
Murray Glatman timeline
December 10, 1927—Harvey
Glatman was born in the Bronx, New York, to Albert and Ophelia Glatman.
Prior to 1930, Albert, Ophelia, and Harvey moved to Denver.
family lived briefly in Denver before moving back to New York. Harvey
was an only child.
Glatmans returned to Denver and moved in with Ophelia’s sister, Rosalie
Gold. Harvey Glatman attended Denver East High School, where he was in
the top seventh percentile of his class and played the cornet in the
high school concert band.
Glatman’s senior year in high school, he started binding, gagging, and
molesting Denver women, while robbing them of small amounts of money.
May 4, 1945—Glatman
bound, gagged, molested, and robbed Eula Jo Hand and two other women in
the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver.
May 18, 1945—Glatman
was arrested—for the first time—in Denver, for the “robbery” of Eula Jo
Hand and two other women.
May 18–21, 1945—Glatman
was confined in the Denver County Jail and, reportedly, did not get to
graduate from high school.
May 21, 1945—Glatman’s
mother Ophelia bailed him out of jail, paying $2,000 in three separate
July 15, 1945—While
out of jail on bond, Glatman bound, gagged, molested, and robbed Norene
Lauer in Boulder.
July 17, 1945—Glatman
was arrested—for the second time—in Denver, for his Boulder assault of
Norene Lauer. He was transported back to Boulder and confined in the
Boulder County Jail.
July 23, 1945—Glatman
was released from the Boulder jail after a bondsman paid his $5,000 bail.
July 31, 1945—Glatman’s
bond on the Lauer case was reduced to $2,000, and he was committed to
the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital, in Denver, for evaluation.
July 31–September 8,
1945—Glatman was confined in the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital.
September 27, 1945—While
out of the hospital and out on bond from both the Denver and Boulder
county jails, Glatman bound, gagged, molested, and robbed two women in
the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver. He also molested another Denver
woman, who screamed and ran out of her house.
September 30, 1945—Glatman
was arrested—for the third time—in Denver, for the Park Hill
8, 1945—Glatman again was confined in the Denver County Jail.
October 8, 1945—Glatman
was ordered by the court to go back to the psychopathic hospital for “a
period not exceeding 10 days.” On the same day, the court released the
$2,000 bond on the Eula Jo Hand et al. case.
November 4, 1945—Glatman’s
third charge—for the Park Hill assaults—was dismissed.
November 19, 1945—Glatman
pled guilty, in Denver, in the case of Eula Jo Hand et al. Dr. Hilton
was his only defense witness and recommended insulin shock treatments.
November 26, 1945—Glatman
appeared at a hearing in Boulder on the Norene Lauer case, which was
continued because of his conviction in the Eula Jo Hand et al. case.
December 1, 1945—Glatman
was sentenced to one to five years at the Colorado State Penitentiary in
the case of Eula Jo Hand et al.
December 5, 1945—Glatman
began his first prison term—as prisoner number 23863—at the Colorado
July 27, 1946—Glatman
was paroled from the Colorado State Penitentiary after less than eight
months of his one- to five-year sentence.
July 27–August 25,
1946—While out on parole for the Eula Jo Hand et al. case, and still
under the $2,000 bond from his assault on Norene Lauer, Glatman went
with his mother to New York State. There, he committed several more
robberies and assaults on women.
August 25, 1946—Glatman
was arrested and confined in jail in Albany, New York.
October 10, 1946—Glatman
was sentenced to one to five years for the first of his New York
robberies and assaults.
October 24, 1946—Glatman
entered the New York State Reception Center at Elmira.
October 28, 1946—Glatman’s
bail on the Boulder case of Norene Lauer was reduced from $2,000 to
$500. The case was continued until his release from New York authorities.
September 8, 1948—Glatman
was transferred to Sing Sing Prison at Ossining, New York.
November 27, 1950—A
Boulder judge dismissed the case of Norene Lauer so that Glatman could
be paroled from Sing Sing Prison.
April 16, 1951—As
soon as Glatman was released, he immediately was arrested and jailed
again for his outstanding charges from 1946. Two were dismissed and one
May 2, 1951—Glatman
returned to Denver, where his parole stipulated that he be under the
care of Dr. Franklin G. Ebaugh, a psychiatrist.
Albert Glatman, died.
psychiatrist, Dr. Ebaugh, retired.
April 8, 1954—The
body of Jane Doe was found west of Boulder. If Glatman committed any
crimes in Colorado between 1951 and 1957—including the murder of Jane
Doe—he was not caught.
moved to California, although he occasionally returned to Denver to
visit his mother.
August 1, 1957—Glatman
murdered Judy Ann Dull in Riverside County, California.
March 9, 1958—Glatman
murdered Shirley Ann Bridgeford in San Diego County, California.
July 24, 1958—Glatman
murdered Ruth Mercado in San Diego County, California.
October 27, 1958—Glatman
was arrested in Orange County, California, while assaulting Lorraine
October 31, 1958—Glatman
was arrested for the murders of Bridgeford and Mercado, but not for Dull.
November 4, 1958—Boulder
County Sheriff Art Everson sent his Jane Doe case file to California
authorities, asking them to “question Glatman again using details of the
case,” but there is no record that they ever did.
December 16, 1958—Glatman
was sentenced to death for the murders of Bridgeford and Mercado.
18, 1959—Glatman was confined on death row at San Quentin State Prison
in Marin County, California.
September 18, 1959—Glatman,
age thirty-one, was executed at San Quentin. His cremated remains were
buried in the San Quentin Cemetery.
Timeline is an excerpt from "Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice
for Jane Doe" (Taylor Trade, 2009) by Silvia Pettem
Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers
By that hot
July night in 1958, Harvey Glatman had raped and killed two females. He
had come to enjoy it. But, now, since it had been seven months since his
last crime, and the police so far had not shown up at his door, he
resolved he was overdue for a little more fun. He was ready, boiling.
Tonight he was going to take the life of another woman.
his clunker, the Dodge, halfway down her street, Pico Street, Harvey
strolled the rest of the way to her door recalling his old, familiar
line, the joe-photographer bit he had used on the others; the freelance
photographer ruse that had worked so well. Knocking the elements of his
masquerade together in his head, he practiced under his breath just what
he was going to say when this Angela Rojas opened the door to let him
half the battle was won already. He had done it by phone: had called up
the agency she worked for, said he wanted a model to pose for some
fashion layouts, and made arrangements to do the layout at her house.
Of course, the
agency and he both knew exactly what that meant - to take nudie pictures.
But, as long as he had the cash to pay and as long as there were whores
like this Rojas willing to strip for some horny shutterbug until their
real break came along here in Hollywood, no one asked questions.
Credentials weren't needed. All that mattered was that everybody won:
The chicks got paid; the agency got its percentage and the guy who
forked over the dough walked away with pornographic freeze frames.
As before, he
used a phony name, this time Frank Wilson. Hell, he had to! After all,
the models he chose would never come back alive and he couldn't invite
the LAPD to his door, now could he?
apartment, 24-year-old Ruth Mercado - who used the pseudonym Angela
Rojas whenever she took a modeling assignment - peered out the window
and saw Frank Wilson rounding her walkway. Yuck, she thought, what a
loser! and knew exactly what kind of "layout" this dude would conjure
up. Take off your clothes and look sexy! Smile now! Show me what ya' got!
come from New York months previously to hit the big time here in West
Hollywood, hoping she would get discovered -- but her dream of being the
next Marilyn Monroe or Sandra Dee never materialized. With no
aspirations for waiting tables or cashiering, Los Angeles of 1958 didn't
offer much more for a girl who found such occupations too menial.
Reduced to a "photographer's model," she at least was able to avoid the
humdrum and still be able to pay the rent and eat - thanks to the "photographers"
who, like Wilson, couldn't get a real woman of their own.
As long as
they never touched her - she was no prostitute - on that she was firm.
But, as the agency told her when she first started accepting these
assignments, Just pose and take the sucker's cash.
A knock at the
door; she opened it, forced a smile at Frank Wilson, and asked him to
step inside. Cripe, up close he was uglier than she thought. Large ears
that stuck out like Dumbo's, ungroomed hair and a pair of squinty eyes
behind thick horn-rimmed glasses.
the car," he stammered.
"It does no
good out there," she cracked, and purring in her most seductive voice -
the way these nerds loved it - she added, "Wanna get it while I slip
into something more comforta-"
clipped. Her words gurgled off when he produced a pistol, shoving its
barrel under her chin. Obviously, he was no photographer. Glancing down,
she could see the stenciling on the weapon's chamber: Browning .32
bedroom?" he barked. "We're going there."
she whimpered, but he severed her voice again with another jab of the
gun. "Answer me, bitch!"
motioned towards the direction of an unlit, slight hallway leading from
her living room. He turned her, a puppet, and pushed her in that
direction. "Go!" he ordered, and followed her, the gun barrel resting
against her spine. As they entered the room together, he shoved her onto
the bed. "Strip!" came one more command.
She obeyed. As
she slipped out of her clothing, one article at a time, she watched his
homely face begin to perspire in anticipation. His elephant ears flushed
red. His puffy lips trembled in awe. She had always feared such a thing
happening, allowing jug-heads into her place the way she had, but so far
she'd been lucky - they had snapped their cheesecakes and pranced away
delighted. Not this time.
me, mister, please, I..." she began again, but of course he overrode.
She thought he
was going to hyperventilate when she unstrapped it; no doubt this
hayseed had not been with many women. Maybe, she thought, he would let
her live if she played the role he wanted her to play. After all, he
seemed to be not much more than a grown-up child peering at that new
girly magazine, Playboy. With a smile, pretending to enjoy what she was
doing, she dropped the last of her undergarments to the floor.
Naked now, she
let his clammy hands caress her privates, and tried not to shudder,
muchtheless puke, as his nauseating touch experienced her. She tightened,
though, when she saw him reach beneath his jacket and withdraw a length
of thin rope. And when he told her to turn around, and she felt him
binding her wrists together, the shudder she had tried to resist
frightened," his voice crackled behind her. "I just want to make love to
the temptation to tell him that, yes, it's the only way any woman would
dare let him touch her - tied up! Instead, she locked her lips and
inhaled deeply, silent, except when he pushed her across the bed again
and sprawled across her, unzipped. Despite protestations, he had his way
with her. After a few moments of pleading in vain, she surrendered and
for the next hour she turned herself over to this grunting, heaving
For a while,
he lay beside her, having finished with her. She didn't dare look at him,
was afraid to, but she heard his breathing that still came in sporadic
bursts. Somehow, he sounded undone. "I have an idea," he suddenly said,
propping himself on his arm beside her.
She jumped at
the abrupt breaking of silence and looked at him for the first time
since before her rape. He was chuckling like the naughty little boy she
thought he was.
"Let's go on a
understand..." she shook her head but dreaded to think what he really
meant. "It's after midnight."
"So, who says
two people who just made love can't go on a nice romantic picnic at
night?" He giggled and pulled her by her bound wrists to her feet. It
hurt, but he disregarded her groans. "I will untie you if you promise
not to cry out or run."
she played it cooly.
said as he unwound the rope, "then get dressed." He handed her her
panties, but only after reveling in their silken touch awhile.
dressed in a flash, not sure exactly what was in store for her. Picnic?
She didn't ask, only hoped that whatever it was that she would be able
to walk away from this alive. In the meantime, her brain rushed to keep
her panic down. From time to time, she even batted a wink in his
cover that body he had just enjoyed, Glatman, gun in hand, flopped back
in a chair, thinking. Those fake smiles, he thought, trying to butter me
up. He knew better, and he knew her ploy wouldn't work. Yet, he felt
sorry for her. He didn't want to kill her, but...well, forget that for
now. First there were the pictures to take.
His camera was
in his car, and he was going to do to her what he had done with -- -- to!
-- the others: take her to his favorite spot beyond the city and shoot
some (what he liked to call) "souvenirs" in memory of the night. He had
gone too far with this Mercado now just to leave without the real reward.
They, the pictures, were better than the sex.
last long after she was buzzard bait.
As she was
clothed now, he again tied her wrists. Directing her toward the front
door, he threw her coat over her shoulders to hide the sight of the
binds holding her wrists. Simultaneously, he wrapped his own coat over
the crook of his arm that held the pistol. She marched in front of him
and followed his directions to his car, a battered black Dodge Cornet,
several years old and as unglamorous as her kidnapper. Sliding inside
the vehicle, she noticed an expensive Rolleicord camera lying on the
backseat, along with some accompanying gear.
"Are we taking
photos?" she addressed him while he fumbled for the right key on an
overloaded key ring. Looking at her, he grinned, nodded, churned the
ignition, and then pressed the accelerator to produce a not too
impressive "wheelie". The jalopy left Pico Street with a squeal, turned
south, then straight for where she expected, the Santa Ana Freeway.
"Do you have a
studio?" Mercado seemed to be recovering her voice. Again, he merely
nodded. The while he kept his pistol on his lap.
County the Dodge rolled until it picked up the Intercoastal Highway just
beyond San Juan Capistrano. At Oceanside, Harvey wheeled his car east
past Escanada, then into the desert. By then, the sun had tipped the
horizon and had already brought unbearable heat to the sandy surface.
But, that didn't bother Harvey Glatman. He found a spot to park, a place
he considered remote, where he could do what he wanted to this latest
bitch without interference from the California Highway Patrol.
hands immobile, he raped her again in the desert under the rising sun.
Undressing her, he then shot photos of her in a number of positions,
demanding that she pose more graphically with each click of the shutter.
Snap snap, whiiirrr. Snap snap...whiiirrr. If she whined, he would
reach for the pistol in his jeans pocket, a move that discouraged
As the day
waned, he realized the inevitable had come.
He would later
tell the police, he didn't want to kill her. Hadn't wanted to kill any
of them really, especially this Rojas whom he liked the best - at least
she tried to smile -- but, there was little else he could do. Raped,
abducted, forced to pose pornographically - really now, he couldn't let
must have known her hopes were gone and her death had come when he told
her to pose as if she were dead. Close your eyes, lie there, don't
breath....be a corpse. She closed her eyes...snap, click...whirr...snap,
Then she felt
him hovering. She opened her eyes and watched him strap her ankles
together. Before she could ask, he tossed another loop of hemp around
her neck, and rolled her over on her stomach. As if roping a steer, he
kneeled on her back deadweight while stringing all ends of the ropes
together. She couldn't breathe. While she certainly struggled, he yanked
on the rope to keep her in place. One final yank and she fell still.
down to her panties, he took a couple more photos, shaping the mannequin
into a dozen more poses. Satisfied that he had captured the essence of
his trophy, Harvey rolled the body to where a growth of mesquite
sprouted profusely and where she would soon be nourishment for the
coyotes. Packing his camera, his tripod, his ropes and the blanket he
had used for them to lie on when making love, he felt pleased with
felt somewhat sorry for the bitch, but...what did Doris Day sing in that
song?" Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be."
toward the woman one more time and couldn't believe that that dead thing
with blank expression and twisted mouth had turned him on. That didn't
matter. He was heading home now to his darkroom where she was very much
alive, frozen eternally alive on film.
Weird, Weird Kid
Glatman, serial killer expert and best-selling author Michael Newton
writes, "(He) was a pioneer of sorts. Nine years before author John
Brophy coined the term 'serial murder,' nearly two decades before FBI
agent Robert Ressler dusted it off and made the tag a household word,
Glatman was already plying his trade...Glatman never had a catchy
nickname (but he has since then) become the stuff of urban myth, a
killer, he was a complex nightmare of emotions on two feet, a helter-skelter
of sexual frustration. The women he molested and destroyed he feared and
hated because they represented what he could not understand about
himself and the world in which he moved. Void of self-comprehension, and
therefore self-expression, he saw everything as an abstract predominant
with black shadow.
There was no
identity - and he had no identity - except that everything translated in
his brain as a Freudian piece of work. Everything was sexual. Overcome
with sex and frightened as hell of his libido he had no idea what he was
doing in life or where he fit into its scheme. Females who tickled his
male desires perplexed him because they threatened to remind him of his
own confusion and his non-existence. They were his enemies.
Unable to see
the humanity in female form, women became mere fantasy toys he wished to
understand and wished to conquer. Other men could, but not he. They
might laugh at his ignorance. Therefore, violence was the only way to
approach them; that way, they would not laugh at him, and therefore they
would have to give in to him. And he could walk away afterwards, at
least having proven to himself that he could claim some trophies in life,
if only through force.
was the rape, the initial release of manhood encouraged by his victim's
inability to fight back. Thanks to the rope. There were powers in the
rope. His ropes became merely an extension of his arms, holding the
world in place while he grabbed his piece of it, as a man should.
Then there was
the camera, which brought even greater pleasure because it recorded his
conquests and reminded him of how far he could go with a woman, a length
of rope and some wile tossed in for good measure.
Says Newton, "The
photos that resulted from a 'shoot'...allowed (Glatman) to relive the
incident, elaborate the fantasy, while masturbating...The camera (also)
was a shield, something for (Glatman) to hide behind. (It) gave him
distance, shrank the models to a manageable size, and let him steal, if
not their souls, at least their sexuality."
Newton that Glatman's strange fabric equals those of other, more famous
murderers to come, such as the Boston Strangler, the Hillside Stranglers
and Ted Bundy, British author and crime historian Colin Wilson attests,
"To understand Harvey Glatman is to understand the basic psychology of
the serial killer."
It wasn't long
after Ophelia gave birth to her son Harvey Murray Glatman in 1927 that
she began to notice that his popcorn bag might contain a few too many
unpopped kernels. Her husband Albert, a milliner who spent most of his
time running his shop in the heart of the Bronx's garment district, was
a little slower to catch on, but he too began to notice something
strange as the infant became a toddler and the toddler lengthened into a
skinny sulking, indefinable boy.
was sensitive to the child's mood swings and odd ways, but Albert, a
believer in discipline as a fundamental to anything, took to spankings
and assorted mild punishments as a means to calm his son's queer
Ophelia couldn't put her finger on what bothered her about baby Harvey -
he just [acted] strangely; there was nothing definite except that he
giggled when there was nothing to giggle about and cry over nothing. He
showed little interest in anything, his attention span was zero, and he
often wandered away in reverie. As he grew, he avoided company including
first indication that their kid definitely wasn't right came when he was
four years old. Ophelia chanced upon Harvey in his room committing a
crude form of sado-masochism. According to Ophelia at his court trial in
1958, Harvey had "tied a string around his penis, placed the loose end
in a drawer, and then leaned back against the string."
decided to overlook the act as a quirk of an inquisitive, exploring
child. If they reacted at all, it was with mild disapproval and
moralizing, like the time his father caught him masturbating and warned
him that masturbation caused acne. They had no idea that the string
represented a neurosis of both punishment and self-chastisement that
would grow to dangerous proportions.
A rope would
replace the string and the rope would be his fixation. Says biographer
Newton, "The rope fetish would dog Glatman throughout his life and
ultimately land him on Death Row."
Harvey's problems were kept indoors for years. To the outside world,
neighbors thought him merely shy and studious. To schoolteachers (he
began his schooling in 1933), he was a well-behaved, quiet, very good
student. In fact, he excelled in many subjects.
there were few, and these consisted of a small group of lunchtime
playground buddies who knew him by name and shared a few moments of toss-the-ball.
He was frightened of girls and when in their company grew wobbly-kneed
and embarrassed. It didn't help that a few of them, and some boys too,
ridiculed his overdeveloped ears and his buckteeth. Behind his back, and
often to his face, they called him Chipmunk or Weasel.
joined the others for after-school games. He ran home and played his own.
And it was sexual. And it involved a rope. Harvey's favorite pastime was
tying a rope around his neck, looping the free end over a pipe or rafter,
and yanking the rope with one hand while masturbating with the other;
the strange feeling gave him a rush unlike anything else.
Newton explains in his book, Rope: "Harvey's sex game - variously known
as autoerotic asphyxia, asphyxiaphilia, or hypoxyphilipa - is not the
same thing as masochism (and involves) self-induced strangulation or
suffocation during masturbation...'Gasping' appears to be an ancient
practice...Asphyxiation itself creates excitement and eventually
euphoria, even without genital stimulation, due to the adrenaline
produced when the human body perceives a life-threatening situation."
Harvey had played the game isn't known; his parents discovered the bad
habit around 1938 when their son was eleven. The family had recently
left New York and moved to Denver, Colorado, to escape the teeming,
dirty urbania of the Bronx.
They had been
happy with Harvey's school grades there and the fact that he seemed to
adjust well to his new school, Sherman Elementary, and neighborhood. But,
then they came home one night after an evening's shopping to find the
boy's neck swollen and rope-burned; Harvey confessed what he had been
pictures hidden under his bed and masturbation were one thing, but this
alarmed them. When they sought consultation with a doctor, however, even
the professional wrote off the erratic playtime as growing pains.
teetered back to normal in the Glatman household, which really meant
Harvey took more caution from that point on not to get caught by Ophelia
and Albert. He continued to attend school regularly - in school, he was
an achiever - and entered junior high in 1939. As a teen, his adolescent
fear of the female sex hadn't dissipated; a bad case of acne didn't help
in the presence of anything with pigtails and a higher voice, turned
red, felt inadequate. Yet, they were magnetic, girls were. He longed to
touch them. And the rope, his beloved tool, helped him achieve this
promoted at school, he also raised the level of his peculiar thrills
after hours. Leaving the now-tiresome solitude of a locked bathroom and
bedroom at home, he bought a new excitement of breaking and entering
private residences. From most of these, he would steal something,
anything, just for kicks. One of his prized plunders was a .26 caliber
handgun uncovered from someone's dining room bureau.
Not all his
break-ins were random. Sometimes he was more particular.
He would spot
a pretty woman on Denver's streets and follow her home. Once assured of
her address, he would climb through a window or up a set of back stairs
into her abode. Once inside, he forced her to her bedroom where he
secured her hands with a length of cord he carried in his jacket
everywhere he went. He also muzzled her mouth with a gag cloth.
brought the advantage, the cloth silenced her yelps, but the rope, he
discovered, was the key to a new sensation. It pinned back the woman's
flailing arms, allowing him the liberty to run his fingers across a soft,
curving body without interruption. To explore new mysteries and reach
new peaks. The lady was at his mercy as he had been at the mercy of all
those girls who had called him laughable names on the playground.
to a bed or a chair, he unbuttoned their blouses, loosened their skirts,
and fondled their flesh and, simultaneously, his own. Sometimes he made
them lie down beside him and pretended that they enjoyed it as much as
he did. He would not fully undress them, nor rape them - for the libido
was fully satisfied just to crack the moral bell jar.
But, best of
all for the inadequate Harvey Glatman, the more he touched them the more
comfortable he became in their presence. After each molestation, he felt
himself more like the man he wanted to be and not like the loser in
those newspaper ads promoting vitamins, the guy who gets sand kicked in
his face by some muscleman.
this ritual in spurts throughout high school. Noticing that he drifted
home from school late on occasion, his parents believed him when he
explained he had taken up some scholastic extracurricular activities.
On May 18,
1945, he grew careless. Police caught him in the act of breaking into
the Vrain Street apartment window of Elma Hamum. In his pockets they
found a length of rope and a .25 caliber pistol. Under interrogation
that evening he confessed to a number of burglaries, but conveniently
left out those that had involved forced sex.
learned his lesson. Less than a month later, while awaiting trial for
the burglary offense, he abducted well-built Norene Laurel from her
neighborhood and, after binding her, drove her out of town to Sunshine
Canyon. There, he repeated his routine performance of show and touch -
no rape - before returning her to Denver well before dawn.
straight to the police station where, from a book of mug shots, she
identified him. He was re-arrested and this time, no bail pending. Held
behind bars until his trial in November, he was at that time sentenced
to a year in Colorado State Prison.
He was 17
served eight months of his twelve-month sentence before being paroled
from Colorado's state prison. He walked out the gates on July 27, 1946.
One of the first things his mother did was bring him to a psychiatrist
as a means to ward off further rash acts such as the ones that sent her
boy to the calaboose.
recommended that Harvey's problem was based on his abnormal fear of the
opposite sex. Solution? That Harvey begin activities, such as dancing,
that set him right in the midst of women to squelch that fear.
listened well. He returned to his native New York state and partook of
many activities that involved women -- however, not the kind that the
good professional had in mind.
It had been
mother Ophelia's wish that Harvey leave Denver because of the black mark
on him there. She earnestly believed that he could get a fresh start in
a new climate among new faces; meet friendly people, get a job and make
something of himself.
at home for a few weeks, Ophelia escorted her son to and set him up in a
tidy little flat in Yonkers. She even stood by as he got a job in a
television repair store. He had learned the trade in prison workshop and
could now put that knowledge to good use, she told him.
Harvey was on his way to a normal life, Ophelia returned to Denver.
As for Harvey,
once mama was gone, he set out to the streets in search of excitement.
Not taking the chance to try to procure a gun - possession of one would
send him back to prison for a long, long time - he instead bought a cap
gun from a five-and-dime that he thought looked authentic enough to pass
for real. The pocket-knife he carried, though, was not a toy. And the
rope, of course, too, that was the best-made hemp, guaranteed not to
There was no
imitating the embracing powers of real hemp.
midnight of August 17, 1946, lovers Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn were
approached by a man they later described as being a bit shorter than six
feet, 140 pounds, with messy hair, horn-rim glasses, large ears and pock-marked.
The stranger, brandishing a pistol, ordered the couple off the sidewalk
and into the darkness under a grove of trees.
Staro's wallet from his trousers, he tied his legs together and made him
lie on the lawn. Turning to Thorn, he began touching her breasts,
keeping her in place and quiet with the threat of the gun barrel at her
abdomen. Immersed in the wonders of womanhood, Harvey failed to see that
the boyfriend had worked himself free from the sloppily tied knot and
was tip-toeing from behind.
Harvey, but the latter wiggled free from his grasp, simultaneously
producing his pocket-knife. With a slash, he caught Staro's shoulder, a
cut that even though not lethal sent the other recoiling in terror.
Harvey escaped into the umbrage.
He didn't stop
running until he was safe on the first train to Albany.
Yonkers, Albany, it was all the same to Harvey Glatman. The place didn't
matter, as long as it had women to caress. Renting a flat in his new
town, he spent the next couple of days scouring the neighborhood around
his flat on Commercial Street in preparation for more adventure. By
August 22nd, he was ready.
target in Albany was off-duty nurse Florence Hayden. Coming up behind
her from the darkness of Main Avenue, he grabbed her purse straps and
shoved her into an adjacent yard. Jostling her, he dug his gun barrel
into her side and demanded that she remain quiet while he bound her
wrists together. But, as she told police later, "I realized he was using
both his hands (to tie the rope) and no longer held the gun. So I
wheeled around, pushed him hard, and screamed - but loud."
absconded, Hayden said, more frightened than she.
discouraged by his latest run of bad luck, Harvey determined to succeed
when he took a stroll along Hollywood Avenue the following evening. For
a while, the cupboard looked bare as every woman he saw was with a male
companion - and he had had enough with scrapping with muscular males
after that Yonkers incident.
itching, he impulsively went after the only unescorted females he saw
passing him on a deserted street corner - two women walking together,
Evelyn Berge and Beverly Goldstein. But, once he had cornered them with
his toy gun, he lost nerve. Two women were too much! Mumbling, fumbling,
he ordered them to turn over their pocketbooks, and after they obliged
he again mumbled, again fumbled before shrinking into the shadows.
His crimes so
far being small potatoes, the Albany Police Department nevertheless
considered this phantom a danger. His modus operandi was striking at
women, and that scared the bejesus out of Police Commissioner James
Kirwin. Descriptions given to the authorities by Hayden, Berge and
Goldstein matched, so they knew it had been the same assailant in all
cases. He had already attempted to sexually molest the nurse. Kirwin
assembled his forces and commanded, Get this clown!
moved quickly. Within two days they had Harvey Glatman in custody. Two
officers had spotted the suspect, description matching to a T, following
a woman down Western Avenue. Pausing him, they frisked him. In his
pockets, they found a toy gun, a pocketknife and a roll of rope. Scared,
him returned to face charges of assault on Thorn and Staro, but the city
of Albany was rejoicing in its professional squelching of this goon and
flat-out refused. Four days after his arrest, Glatman was indicted in
Albany's Municipal Court for the attack on Flo Hayden. Even though the
other women did not file charges, the city DA knew that this Glatman,
who had already done time in Colorado, was no spontaneous small-timer.
Harvey suddenly faced a prison term in the big league category.
Albert Glatman were stunned when they heard the bad news. All this time
they had thought their son had reformed and was living clean, still in
Yonkers. Ophelia rushed east to plead for leniency, but her tears won no
her and Harvey's fears materialized. Judge Earl Gallup, with prodding
from the DA's office, hammered the gavel down on the two-time loser:
Five to ten! he proclaimed. Harvey was going back up the river, this
time to the rock pile. Because Harvey was not yet 21 years of age, Judge
Gallup recommended that the convicted begin his term in Elmira (New York)
Reformatory, but, in due course, be committed to serve the remainder of
his time at maximum security Sing Sing.
Number 48337 spent nearly two years in Elmira. During that time, he was
medically researched and evaluated. At the end of that time, Dr. Ralph
Ryancale diagnosed Harvey as a "psychopathic personality - schizophrenic
type" having "sexually perverted impulses as the basis of his
criminality." He strongly recommended that further studies on Harvey
Glatman be resumed after his removal to Sing Sing.
no records of his psychiatric examinations at Sing Sing have survived,
apart from a case study performed just after his ingress. That
perfunctory report apprises the new inmate as "not definitely mental
defective or psychotic," but suggests that he should be "psycho-educated
and if still anti-social should be segregated even if schizophrenia does
not seem developed."
which have survived the years show that Harvey was a model prisoner, had
a high IQ, demonstrated ability and eagerness in his prison duties and
responded positively to sporadic medical exams. Crime author Michael
Newton who, for years, has studied Harvey Glatman and the serial killer
mind in general, is unimpressed.
He states, "Sociopathic
sex offenders learn to 'play' the system early on, sometimes as children.
After they have been arrested several times and spent time in jail, as
Harvey had, they know exactly what to say and how to act in any given
situation, whether dealing with police, attorneys, or psychologists.
assurances to the contrary, many sociopaths...are fully capable of 'beating'
polygraphs, manipulating the results of psychological evaluation tests
and making therapists believe they have been 'cured'."
evidently played the game very well. Benefits accrued for "good behavior"
severed a percentage of time off his minimum five-year sentence; after
only two years, eight months behind bars, Harvey Glatman was paroled.
Stipulations, however, decreed that he must return to the care of his
mother, acquire a full-time job and remain under court observation for
another four and a half years.
Going home to
parental custody in Denver, Harvey worked a number of odd jobs and
generally stayed out of mischief. Parole follow-ups refer to a spotty
employment record, citing difficulties adjusting to a full-time work
life. Harvey lived with his parents until after his father Albert passed
away, at which time mother and son began to bicker. Allowed space to go
on his own, he rented his own flat, continued to find on-again-off-again
employment and visited his parole officer regularly and on time.
1956, Harvey Glatman received full liberty. With no more monthly updates
to complete, no more authority-contrived check-ups, Harvey did what he'd
been dying to do for years. Put Denver and Ophelia and courts and police
records behind him.
rising at his heels, he left the Mile High City and went west. Perhaps
the horizon was blurry, but as he drove and drove down dirty highways,
somewhere along the way he decided that Los Angeles was the place to go.
The call of
reached Los Angeles in January, 1957.
unsupervised for the first time in years, his psyche went crazy. Without
much hesitancy, his fantasies of naked women in bondage screamed aloud,
and brazenly. By the time he would be restrained by police a year and a
half later, he had killed three women and nearly a fourth.
thing he did when arriving in California was to renew an old hobby of
his: photography. He had excelled in the art during high school; it
fascinated him. He never could quite explain his captivation - maybe
because he was able to capture the world in whatever tones and in
whatever fashion he wished, and box it into a size eight by ten, dull
finish or glossy.
charm, he devised a new outlet for it now, one that made his libido
quiver. Up and down the main thoroughfares of downtown L.A., small
modeling studios promoted their own array of girls willing to pose for a
price, clothed, semi-clad or in the buff. Seedy, yes, but it was a dream
come true for Harvey Glatman with a lot of time, and fantasies.
provided a release in the only way he knew.
cover it up.
Keppel, author of Signature Killers, is not surprised that by this time
Harvey's volcano was about to erupt. As chief criminal investigator for
Washington State's Attorney General's Office, Keppel has worked on and
consulted a large number of oddball murder cases.
He writes, "As
a person dreams and thinks of his fantasies over time, he develops a
need to express those violent fantasies. Most serial killers have been
living with their fantasies for years before they bubble to the surface
and are translated into deeds. When the killer finally acts out, some
aspect of the murder will demonstrate his unique personal expression
that has been replayed in his fantasies over and over again."
authors Stephen G. Michaud and Roy Hazelwood's recent book, The Evil
That Men Do, uses Glatman's and other's histories to study the sordid
but existing mind of the serial killer. In his work, Michaud turns to
the experiences and knowledge of forensic consultant and former FBI
profiler Roy Hazelwood, whom he quotes freely within the pages.
spent decades with the Federal Bureau of Investigation examining the
twisted crimes of sex offenders and joins the ranks of Dr. Keppel in
being considered one of the nation's top experts on the subject.
Glatman's was one of the first cases Hazelwood encountered in his
studies. Harvey was, he says, a novelty in an era when the existence of
sexual sadists was not fully considered.
In the 1950s,
the world was beginning to realize just how vastly sex sold. But, the
public in general had not yet awakened to the possibility that sex could
be highly dangerous when misinterpreted by certain wayward minds.
criminality, plus much less sinister behavior, was both curbed and
concealed in America at mid-century by a moral climate hostile to sexual
extremes or erotic experimentation," writes Michaud. In quoting
Hazelwood, he adds, "'In those days, people appearing in hardcore
pornography still wore masks. Playboy was new. Mickey Spillane's books
were considered explicit. In the last three or four pages of I, the Jury,
for example, Spillane describes a man holding a gun on a woman as she
slowly unbuttons her blouse. Beads of perspiration run between her
breasts. That was the book that high school guys gathered around to read
during lunchtime, and those were the particular pages most frequently
these stroked the "healthy male libido," Michaud says, but not that of a
"sexual sadist" like Glatman, simply because it lacked "the specific
connection between sex and violence necessary for his arousal...Aberrant
offenders use pornography to validate their deviance as well. The more
they see of it, and masturbate to it, the more their behavior is
Harvey's inner behavior (as Dr. Keppel would say) would "bubble to the
Working as a
TV repairman by day, Harvey was able to afford rent for a small flat/studio
apartment on quiet Melrose Avenue and a used car, a used 1951 black
Dodge Cornet. He also found the cash to buy an expensive Rolleicord
camera, complete with a Schneider Xenar zoom lens and a tripod.
proper equipment, all he needed now was a pseudonym - something snappy
that sounded like a real professional photographer like those who took
those saucy pictures in his favorite crime magazines. Weighing the
decision like it was the most important one in the world, he finally
conceived the alias Johnny Glenn. Sounded pert. Sounded suave. Sounded
For months he
hung out at the models' studios, snapping away to his libido's content,
amazed and titillated at how easily these broads stripped bare for
twenty bucks an hour.
But, it wasn't
enough. He had to touch...to have...to control...to...
victim was Judith Ann Dull, a 19-year-old wide-eyed babydoll divorcee
taking on whatever assignment she could get to pay for a lawyer in a
child custody battle with her ex. Having obtained her phone number
through her agency (it was customary in the Fifties for agencies to
release personal numbers), Harvey called Dull the morning of August 1,
1957, to explain that he had seen her model before and was interested in
having her pose for a layout for a popular true crime magazine.
It was a great
opportunity, he stressed. Her line of business urged caution, but she
thought he sounded nice enough over the telephone - and the fact that he
agreed to do the shoot at her own apartment sounded convivial. She
agreed to pose for him at two o'clock that afternoon.
"Wear a tight
skirt and sweater," he directed before hanging up.
arrived at her Sweetzer Avenue flat, early, he asked her if she would
mind posing at his studio instead. The lighting was better. Surveying
the floppy-eared, bespectacled wimp, she tossed off all caution and
followed him to his car. He drove her to his "studio," actually his own
he explained that since the shots would accompany a story about bondage,
he would have to illustrate by tying her up. If she had any doubts, the
thought of $20 an hour overrode. She consented, throwing out her wrists
as he bound them, sitting back in his armchair as he wrapped her ankles,
and slinking back seductively this way and that way.
When she was
fully strapped and muzzled, he drew a .32 Browning automatic from his
pocket. "In 1957, California had no waiting period for firearms
purchases," says author Michael Newton in Rope, "no background checks,
no pesky licenses. You didn't even have to show ID. It was a cash and
carry business..." Harvey had had the cash, and he carried.
steel-blue weapon under her chin, he untied her hands and ordered her to
strip - slowly - as he snapped her in various poses, some bound, some
free, all depicting her in control of someone off-screen. Like a movie
director, he barked out, You're frightened! You're curious! Be scared,
but be tempting! Lift a leg! Drop a strap! Snap snap whirr, snap, snap
whirr. The poses varied and grew more erotic - more emphatic to Harvey's
personal soul -- as the shoot progressed..
In a chapter
devoted to Glatman in his book, Signature Killers, Robert D. Keppel,
Ph.D., explains how Harvey's photographs were his "personal signature of
murder". Keppel finds Harvey's use of photography telling: "(His photos)
were more than souvenirs because, in Glatman's mind, they actually
carried the power of his need for bondage and control.
the women in various poses: sitting up or lying down, hands always bound
behind their backs, innocent looks on their faces, but with eyes wide
with terror because they had guessed what was to come."
pictures were taken, he had his way with Judy Dull. Oblige, he commanded,
or die. Whimpering at her foolishness, the girl obeyed. As the outside
world dimmed through Harvey's window shades, Johnny Glenn raped her
several times, binding her limbs at the conclusion of each session.
Relaxing, satisfied for the meantime, he made her sit beside him and
nuzzle him on the sofa as he watched his favorite TV comedies. A few
more shows, he promised, and he'd take her home.
had no intention of taking her anywhere except to a perfect little spot
in the desert he had discovered one day while cruising near the vicinity
of Indio. Way out, amongst the coyotes, and far, far away from the cops
who could send him back behind bars for evermore.
kept telling himself over and over again, he didn't want to kill anyone,
but, what else was there to do? He had to have her, had to possess her,
had to glutton on her. Damn, it wasn't his fault! And damn it, nobody
was going to send him to prison for something he couldn't help.
How else was
he supposed to get a woman?
At 10:30 p.m.,
Harvey announced that he would let her go, but he would have to dump her
off out of town for her to find her own way home. She probably reasoned
that he wanted time to escape, and she did not argue. Tying her wrists
once again, he led her to his car, his gun in one hand as he steered the
vehicle down the freeway, south to San Bernardino, east to Mission Road,
into the open flatland of Riverside County lit only by stars.
He kept on
driving, miles more to go, and didn't pause until he had passed Banning
and Palm Springs, finally slowing down once he passed Thousand Palms. A
hundred miles from Los Angeles, here in the middle of nowhere, he
stopped the car. Around them was night and nature.
from the car, he acted as if he was about to untie her. She sighed. Then,
in a single move, he lassoed her neck, shoved her to her knees, twirled
her on her belly and rung the other loop of the cord around her ankles.
Pulling up, her body snapped below him. A single groan, she was dead.
needed a few more photos by flash, something to remember his conquest.
He molded Dull like a clay figure; an arm here, an arm there, a leg
spread, a knee turned this way. Dead no matter how she was shaped. He
wanted it to appear that way.
victim's death photos, Dr. Keppel adds, "They were even more horrifying
to police (than the in-life ones) because they revealed Glatman's true
nature. They showed the ways the killer had positioned his victims, and
the psychological depravity they evidenced was deeply revolting. That a
human being could so reveal the depths of his own weakness and feelings
of insignificance through photographs was something investigators had
not seen before."
later, Harvey met victim number two.
Bridgeford, 24 years old, recently divorced and with two sons, joined
the popular Patty Sullivan Lonely Hearts Club in L.A., hoping to meet
the right man. All she knew is that she didn't want someone like her
first husband. She wasn't picky, having given up on Prince Charming, so
when fellow member George Williams asked her out for a date March 7,
1958, she accepted. Williams did not set her heart fluttering - his ears
were so large and there was something, well, mousy about him - but she
figured a date is a date and beat sitting home Saturday night. He
promised to take her square dancing; at least it would be a night on the
town and a free dinner.
George Williams, showed up at the appointed time, 7:45 p.m., at her home
on Tuxford Street, Sun Valley. Taken aback by a house-full of company to
greet him, he kept his cool and played the hopeful boyfriend to the hilt,
complementing the way Shirley looked and extending a "Nice to meet you
all!" on his way out the door.
Once in the
car, he asked Bridgeford if she would mind not going dancing; he had a
headache and preferred to take a drive in the country instead, perhaps
grab some dinner along the way. Sure, she replied, that sounded very
nice. Driving south from Sun Valley, they stopped for dinner in
they returned to the car where Harvey resumed a southward direction.
"If we believe
his later statements, he had not decided yet to rape and murder Shirley
Bridgeford," Michael Newton reports in Rope. "He 'kept on thinking of
her two children,' Harvey said, telling himself that Shirley was a 'different
type' than Judy Dull. She didn't strip and show her body off to
strangers. Shirley was a nice girl. Still...Her very presence in the car
and the scent of her perfume incited Glatman...Harvey knew what he was
missing if he did not follow through."
At last the
car edged into the foothills of the looming Vallecito Mountains near
Anza State Park. Harvey idled the car, letting it roll off the dirt road
and several feet onto the dusty sand floor. Bridgeford looked at him
quizzically. What omens she may have had crystallized sharp when she
found the barrel of his .32 tucked between her breasts.
She begged not
to, but he insisted, and when she was naked, he ravaged her. The rapes,
the humiliation, then he forced her onto the desert where he told her it
was photo time. More pleas, more refusals from her abductor. He took
photos of her dressed and he took photos of her nude. He took photos in
many positions, his ritual orderly and timed... snap snap whirr. In the
blackness the flashbulbs popped, one after another, crazy little
explosions catching crazy little scenes. Snap snap whirr. To be sure he
had useable products for all his trouble, he made her wait till the sun
rose so he could take some photos in daylight.
thought he had enough to last him a while, he garroted his model and
Before he left
the carcass in the dust, however, he did what he had done with Judy Dull:
took some death shots in a number of wrenching positions.
Then, as the
maroon sun rose over the mountains behind him, Harvey went home to his
darkroom for some real fun.
later, he discovered Ruth Mercado (Angela Rojas) and repeated the
process, by then refined, dumping her body not far from what was left of
meantime, three girls' families, friends and landlords were asking
questions of the police...Where did they go and why can't you find them?.
Dull's disappearance had been one thing - women ran off all the time to
evade boyfriends and husbands and even families - but then came the
evaporation of Bridgeford and Mercado, two models and one "nice" girl,
each one gone after leaving their place with a single male. Was there a
Harvey had so
far been able to control women with a gun and a rope, especially a rope,
his symbol of sexual power. He now believed he could go on doing it
That is where
In the summer
of 1958 Glatman had discovered the Diane Studio, one of the higher-priced
but better reputed modeling agencies on Sunset Boulevard. Its models
were often chosen by legitimate cameramen for magazine ads and TV
commercials; Diane, the owner, often posed herself. Of course, the
studio attracted the shutterbugs, too, like Harvey Glatman willing to
pay as high as $30 for an hour's striptease.
It was to
Diane's that Harvey came late afternoon of October 27 wanting to rent a
model's time. Actually, he wanted Diane herself, but the proprietor, who
was familiar with the man she knew as Frank Johnson, was totally turned
off by his unkempt hair and repugnant body odor.
be too busy to accommodate him, she nevertheless offered studio space
and the use of one of her particular models if the girl would accept. "Frank"
was game, so Diane phoned a woman who had, in fact, just signed on the
previous week. Lorraine Vigil, eager for her first modeling gig,
accepted. Diane made the arrangements: Harvey would pick her up at eight.
the unfavorable client left, Diane ruminated. She called Lorraine back
to warn her, "Be careful with this loser. He's not a professional and is,
er, rather creepy - you know what I mean?" Vigil promised she would take
care and thanked the agent for the advice.
alert signal still ringing in her ears, it was with great reticence that
Vigil got into Harvey's old Dodge that night; she watched his every move
as he bent to release the clutch and silently head toward the Santa Ana
not this way," she instructed.
tell you? I've been pre-empted by another client. We're going to my
private studio instead."
No no, thought
Lorraine to herself. The signal started to vibrate inside her head.
"Are you sure?"
heart," he giggled, and did so. It was the first time that Lorraine
really took a good look at his face. Even his grin was unsavory.
She kept quiet,
not wanting to make a fuss. This was her first job for the Diane Studio
and didn't want to earn bad marks right off the bat as an unwilling
client. As the Dodge rattled along, down the freeway past one exit ramp
after another, seemingly speeding up with the mileage, she mustered up
enough nerve to ask Harvey - who had not uttered one word since he
giggled and crossed his heart - where his studio was. "A little further,"
he said. "Anaheim."
Anaheim exits had come and gone, she noted. "Didn't you pass it?"
he growled. Otherwise, he remained close-mouthed, only staring straight
ahead through the glimmering windshield. The lights from the freeway,
gutted with shadows, curled his expression into an eerie grimace. From
beside him, Vigil dropped her eyes to his foot, which was bearing down
on the gas pedal.
clanged in her skull: Be careful with this loser...creepy...creepy...
have a right to know-" Vigil quaked, but he sawed her off with a groan.
she protested now. "You'd better tell me where we're going or-"
swung the car into a dangerous turn grabbing the forthcoming exit,
impulsively crossing two lanes to take it. Vigil slammed against the
door panel. As she tried to sit up again, her eyes caught the overhead
road marker, "Tustin Ranch Road." The car, slowing up after the
spontaneous turnabout, came to a stop on the side of the road just below
the off ramp.
trying to kill us?" the woman screamed.
"Hold out your
arms," he said.
"I said hold
out your arms. You're getting on my nerves. I'm going to tie you up and
shut you up!" To emphasize the seriousness of his order, he whipped out
a gun, and watched the bitch recoil at its sight. But when her fingers
wrapped around the door handle in an attempt to flee, he grabbed her.
Yanking her into him, he wrapped her body, twisting her around in the
motion, trying desperately to coil the length of rope that seemed to
appear out of nowhere around her arms. But, she fought.
expected this. The others hadn't grappled, why was she a tiger? "Stay
still!" he grumbled and tried like hell to keep her away from the car
door. Once outside she would be able to flag down any number of
automobiles that drove by...and then...God forbid!
to wrestle until both their hands wrapped the gun barrel. In one awkward
reflex, the pistol exploded and a bullet seared through a section of
Vigil's skirt skimming her thigh. The noise jolted her attacker who, in
that instant, released his hold on her. Thinking fast, she kicked at the
door handle and, as the door bounced open, she pushed herself out with
it. Landing on the gravel, she felt him behind her, then his hands on
her sweater, trying to haul her back inside.
Just as she
felt herself being reeled in, the night lit up with a great glare of
white that, as both scrappers paused, turned into two distinct
headlights of a police sedan. Vigil ran to it and realized, for the
first time, she still held onto her attacker's pistol. She dropped it
before the two policemen emerging from the auto and fell at their feet
As for Harvey
Glatman, he cowered beside his car, whimpering, mumbling something about
it not being his fault.
Patrolman Tom Mulligan later testified, "He had a lunatic stare. I'll
never forget that wild look he had in his eyes."
"Tell us, you
SOB, tell us what you know about those other girls!"
exhausted after hours of grilling attempted once again to lay his head
on the briefing table, but one of the detectives yanked him back up by
the collar. "No shuteye 'till you speak up, Harve!"
were four plainclothesmen, scowling, determined, hovering, smothering
him, all representing various sectors of the local law enforcement
bodies that had had enough of women disappearing from their midst. They
had gathered there, in the Orange County jail in Santa Ana to corner a
rat. Sergeants Pierce Brooks and Elmer Jackson were there from the LAPD
gunning for information on Ruth Mercado and Shirley Bridgeford; Captain
Jim Bradford and Detective John Lawton from the Sheriff's Office
insisting that he knew what happened to Judith Ann Dull.
"You fit the
description of the punk who took away Bridgeford," Brooks reminded him.
"What the hell did you do to her, where is she?"
"And tell us
where Judy Dull is, Harvey," Bradford urged. "You killed her, you know
you killed her."
"Tell us about
the rope we found in your car, and the switchblade in your pocket, and
the pop gun you held on Miss Vigil tonight!" Lawton slammed his fist
onto the table. "Did you strangle the others with that rope, did you
stab'em, or did you shoot'em?"
"You have a
record in Colorado and in New York, too, Harvey," Bradford pummeled. "All
about harassing women. You like to harass women, don't you, Harvey?"
"Speak up, SOB,
'cause we know you did it!" Jackson shouted. "We know you're the one...glasses,
rumpled hair, rumpled clothes, and even a camera in your car! Yeah, a
Brooks echoed. "The guy who killed Mercado was supposed to have been a
photographer - are you a photographer, Harvey? Is that how you lured all
these girls to their death? You shot'em with your camera then with your
No no no,
Harvey shook his head and thought to himself, that's not what I did but
damn you're getting close!
bright lights, incessant, unending bright lights in his face, first that
squad car, now the snake lamps in his face. Giving him a headache.
Temples throbbed. Mouth parched. And the hammering, hammering, hammering
of fists beating war-time in front of him. The hammering and the nudging
and the shoving and the yelling:
Harvey, where are the girls?
Where did ya'
kill the girls, Harvey??"
ya' kill the girls, Harvey???
did ya' kill the girls, Harvey????"
"ALL RIGHT, I
KILLED'EM, KILLED'EM ALL...." He collapsed across the table, sobbing. "You
know I killed'em, there's no way you could've known unless you found the
"The one in my
house with the pictures...the dead girls...that's where I hid them...the
pictures...in my toolbox...You know what I mean, you're just playing
with me now."
Brooks and the
others shared agreeing glances, and understood. They now pretended to
know about the toolbox, where obviously the incriminating evidence lay,
so that Harvey would go on to officially confess to the murders. In the
meantime, police were dispatched to the Glatman apartment with an order
to find the damning object and bring it back.
evening, the prisoner admitted what he had done. As if his testimony
wasn't shocking enough, the terrible essence of exactly what he had done
was caught in black and white to send a shiver down the spines of those
who saw them.
images of Glatman's detailed methodology of murder, which showed a
sequence of terror by re-creating the entire psychological arc of the
crime" Dr. Robert Keppel explains in Signature Killers. "He first
photographed each victim with a look of innocence on her face as if she
were truly enjoying a modeling session.
series represented a sadist's view of a sexually terrorized victim with
the impending horror of a slow and painful death etched across her face.
The final frame depicted the victim's position that Glatman himself had
arranged after he strangled her. (These were) the central phases of
Glatman's signature of serial murder...His only motive from the outset
was to torture and murder...to punish them before and after death."
pioneered the field of serial killing, Sergeant Pierce Brooks of the
LAPD pioneered the field in a scholastic way, laying the foundation of
what would become the study of serial killers. Renowned subject scholar,
Dr. Robert D. Keppel, who in his book [Signature Killers] refers to the
sergeant as his "mentor," praises the groundwork done by the LAPD cop
who, intrigued with what he saw in Glatman, was "one of the first people
to talk about catching repetitive killers by examining their behavior at
Brooks was the first law enforcement officer to recognize how some
killers left a reiterating "signature" or "calling card" at the scenes
of their crimes. His documentation led to what in time became the FBI's
VICAP program, which tracks subtle nuances left behind by such murderers.
On that hot
October night, though, Harvey Glatman was the only killer on Brooks' and
his fellow officers' minds, for he provided enough of the macabre to
keep the cops busy for quite some time.
The night of
his arrest, and after he confessed to murdering Dull, Bridgeford and
Mercado, Harvey was cuffed and hurried under armed patrol to the San
Diego County Courthouse. But, he was not immediately jailed. There was
something the detectives wanted him to do first: lead them to where the
bodies were abandoned. The DA saw the Glatman case as open and shut -
but not a sure thing until the killer produced cadavers. Without his
victim's remains any reliable defense counsel could paint Harvey as just
any other whacko trying to make headlines.
was left of the three women was a necessity, as gruesome and hard as it
sounded - and there was no time like now for finding them. In the dark
of the night, Harvey was packed away between a couple of detectives in
one car and followed by a several police in another, and called upon to
serve as navigator. He led the caravan down what had been the last leg
of his familiar route from L.A. -- the San Diego Freeway to Escondido,
then east on 78 to the desert and San Vallecito's foothills. Even though
the shroud of night, Harvey knew the way like an old tar on habitual
showed them where he had raped and killed Shirley Bridgeford; a tan coat
and scattered bones bathed by moonlight proved to the police he wasn't
lying. Most of the skeleton had been chewed on or carried away by
animals, but certainly there would be enough there for the forensic team
to identify Miss Bridgeford.
patrolman at the crime scene, the parade moved further down Vallecito
Road until Harvey directed them to stop. Scouring the area to which
Harvey pointed; the searchers finally came upon a skeleton, almost
intact, with tufts of hair still clinging to the skull. "Angela Rojas,"
Harvey intoned the name he had known her by. But, the detectives knew
she was really Ruth Mercado.
By now it was
daylight. After securing this spot, the detectives returned Harvey to
town. When, on the following day, the murderer brought them to the site
where he slew Judith Ann Dull, there was not much to find, surprisingly;
some shreds of clothing, nothing much more. But, then investigators
learned that many months previously a skeleton of an unknown woman had
been found at that locale by hikers. Forensic odontologists were now
able to re-examine those bones, still on file, as well as examine the
skeletal remains of the other two victims, and make positive
November 3, Harvey Glatman was officially arraigned in San Diego County.
Here his trial would take place, even though three other counties had
wanted him badly: Orange County, for the assault on Miss Vigil that
occurred within its jurisdiction; Riverside County where Miss Dull had
been killed; and Los Angeles County, claiming (rightfully so) that all
of the victims had been abducted there. But, says author Newton, "it
finally came down to numbers, at least as far as San Diego County DA
James Don Keller was concerned. His county had two corpses, compared to
arraignment was over, Keller assembled a task force prosecuting team to
see that justice was served well on the mad dog. (The mad dog was
already yelping to be put out of his misery, and these men agreed that
he should be obliged.) They wanted a fair process of law, of course, but
they wanted it to be done expediently. The team consisted of Keller and
members of the San Diego County DA's office, as well as representatives
from the other counties and the city of Los Angeles. Included in this
last were homicide detective (LAPD) Pierce Brooks.
One of the
things these men wanted and needed for legal prosecution was the history
of each crime on tape as recorded by Harvey Glatman himself: how he
killed the girls, and why. Harvey had already confessed and, in effect,
surrendered his right to a trial. But, for purpose of the prosecuting
team's full understanding of what occurred -- and most certainly for the
purpose of studying a kind of mind the world had yet to realize -- the
recording was mandatory.
Brought to a
room in the County Sheriff's building, Lieutenant Tom Isbell and
Sergeant Robert Majors conducted the session. Explaining to the prisoner
what they were doing, and the reasons for it, they flicked on the
machine. As a legal technicality, Majors prefaced the dialogue. Bending
over the mic, he spoke. "Harvey, before you make any statement here that
will be recorded on this tape, I would like you to know that everything
you say is being recorded...and that everything you say here can be held
against you in your prosecution for murder. Do you understand that?"
Over the next
four hours, Harvey addressed each murder at a time, as well as his
planned murder of Lorraine Vigil, relating a story the likes of which
the two other men in that room had never heard and may have called
preposterous had they seen it played out in a movie. He stated dates,
addresses, deeds, details in gory Technicolor. He told how the idea of
the killings seeded in his mind, how they grew; he confessed that he
craved sex with the women, and when the sex was through how he needed to
kill them. All based on a sexual urge to control.
spoke it was without drama or malevolence or even regret; his speech was
a monotone, even while it gushed the gruesome incidentals of murder.
Perhaps his attitude was, thought the detectives watching him, one of
relief. Since his arrest, the prisoner had been begging for his death.
Maybe he figured that this was his final testimony before the grave, the
only way to get what he wanted now.
No Time For Mourning
There was only
one person who felt sorry for the man whom the newspapers were calling "The
Lonely Hearts Killer". That was his mother, Ophelia. At 69 years old,
the aged lady ventured to California to visit her son. Allowed to see
him on November 12, she soon emerged from his cell dabbing her cheeks,
saddened but acceptant, for she had seen a tragedy coming for decades.
surrounded by the press, she inadvertantly gave the papers probably the
most accurate observation of Harvey Glatman to date: "He is not a
vicious man - he is sick." Journalists devoured that new adaptation and
spat out the anecdote in full human interest drama, the sacrificing
mother stage front.
hope for attorney Willard Whittinghill, who had been charged to
represent Harvey. His strategy became the only viable one open to him to
save his client from the gas chamber" to present Harvey as insane. This
would mean that the defendant would have to undergo psychiatric
examination by the county psychiatrist C. E. Lengyel. Harvey's attitude
was careless - he wanted to die - but Whittinghill convinced him to
endure the test. A mistake. What doubt there had been about the
soundness of the culprit's mind collapsed under Lengyel's diagnosis.
In summary to
the report that the doctor filed on Friday, December 12, it read:
individual shows no evidence of a psychosis. He knows right from wrong,
the nature and quality of his acts, and he can keep from doing wrong if
he so desires."
meantime, Don Keller had been preparing for the upcoming San Diego grand
jury hearing by accruing a host of witnesses to testify against Harvey
in his alleged murders of the two victims slain in San Diego County,
Ruth Mercado and Shirley Bridgeford. Lending the most credibility were
those relatives of Miss Bridgeford who had gathered at her house the
evening Harvey came to pick up his date. They had fingered him and they
had testified how she had left that night with him, a healthy young girl
and loving mother of two - never to be seen alive again.
The grand jury
returned two counts of murder in the first degree.
Glatman's final day in court began bright and early on Monday, December
15, 1985, in Department 4 of Superior Court," reports Rope author
Michael Newton. "The proceeding was not a trial, per se. He had already
filed a guilty plea...but California law requires a separate penalty
phase in such cases before sentence is passed. The options, simply
stated, were death or life imprisonment..."
William T. Low, a stickler for the judicial word.
the prosecution were some repeats from the earlier grand jury hearing,
but also many new ones, officials and laypersons alike, including
Lorraine Vigil, the only survivor of Harvey's designs. Lawmen spoke
about their finding of the bones, remnants of the women left abandoned
in the desert; they explained how they caught Harvey in the act of
trying to drag Vigil into the car to make her victim number four, and
they described the nature of the photographs found in Harvey's toolbox.
As a climax,
the prosecution then played Harvey Glatman's taped confession, which in
the silence of the courtroom sent chills through the assemblage. Several
women crossed themselves and wept. Men stared into the void, but their
mind's eyes trying to form some of the hell that Harvey painted.
As the session
ended, Judge Low asked defense counsel Whittinghill if he had anything
to add. Whittinghill answered with a simple, nearly inaudible "No, Your
expecting that reply, the presider sat back in his chair. With the look
of disbelief, he turned to the defendant. Said Lowe: "I sat here and
listened to those recordings, the manner in which these women were
killed...I never heard anything like it and I hope I never hear anything
like it again. The torment, the suffering these women must have endured
during the night and in the desert...it must have been horrible."
He cleared his
throat, fought back a lump that had formed there, and resumed.
"At this time
I, having found the defendant guilty of first-degree murder, I will
impose the death penalty on him. I think that is the only proper
judgment that should be pronounced in this particular case...Mr. Glatman...may
God have mercy on your soul."
killer was transferred to Death Row at San Quentin Prison as Prisoner
Number A-50239. The space he was given, in a cell apart from the rest of
the inmate population, would be shared in later years by Charles Manson
and Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez. Life there must have been
unbearable for Harvey Murray Glatman: no outlet for his fantasies. No
twine, not even his precious camera, snap snap [whirr].
wouldn't have to endure the suffocation of his new abode for very long.
His execution was set early for September 18, 1959, at which time he was
led into San Quentin's infamous "green room" to inhale cyanide.
which began at 10 a.m., took twelve minutes in all. Much less than the
length of time it took for him to march his victims through their
separate agonies. The chamber door was locked at 10:01; he was strapped
in place by 10:02; the sodium cyanide pellets dropped a minute later and,
within seconds, they dissolved to emanate forth fumes across and up his
nostrils; doctors beyond the viewing glass rated his pulse at 200, but
by 10:05 it had plunged to 60; he gasped at 10:06, drooled at 10:07, and
his head dropped, bobbed, bobbed again, and twitched.
By 10:12 a.m.,
September 18, 1959, the lady killer expired.
It was a
ghastly way to die.
punishment for Harvey Glatman who would have been much, much happier,
maybe even ecstatic, had he been hung by rope.
Keppel, Ph.D., Robert D.
and Birnes, William J. - Signature
Killers - NY: Pocket Books,1997.
Michaud, Stephen G. and
Hazelwood, Roy - The Evil That Men Do
- NY" St. Martin's Press, 1998.
Newton, Michael -
Rope - NY: Pocket Books, 1998.
Pettem, Silvia, Someone's Daughter: In Search
of Justice for Jane Doe, Taylor Trade, 2009.