Best Known For
Alberto DeSalvo is best known for confessing to be the "Boston Strangler," who killed 13 women in Boston in the early 1960s.
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Born on September 3, 1931, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Albert DeSalvo was in and out of trouble with the police from an early age, but nothing as gruesome as the "Boston Strangler" case. DeSalvo admitted to murdering 13 women in Boston between 1962 and '64, most of whom were elderly and alone. He was killed in prison in 1973, after being sentenced to life.
In a short period between June 1962 and January 1964, a series of grisly murders took place in Boston. All the victims were women who had been strangled. The Boston slayings were blamed on one lone sociopath, and mystery still surrounds the case.
The "Boston Strangler" has been held accountable for around 11 of 13 murders of female victims. No one was actually tried for the Boston murders. But one Albert DeSalvo was—by the public at least—believed to be the man responsible. DeSalvo actually confessed to each of the 13 official Strangler murders. However, some doubt was shed on DeSalvo's claims by people who personally knew and worked with him.
What makes these particular murders stand out in the annals of serial killing is the fact that many of the victims were mature or elderly. The combination of old age, loneliness and vulnerability, adds to the brutality and tragedy of the events.
Albert DeSalvo, a well-built 29-year-old, had a history of breaking and entering. He had spent time in prison for a bizarre series of 'peeping tom' escapades where he would knock on ladies' doors, pretend he was a model scout and proceed to 'measure up' the flattered woman if he was lucky enough to get in. It seemed a harmless, albeit disturbing, pastime and DeSalvo spent 18 months in prison for such sexually oriented mischievousness.
DeSalvo had a tough upbringing. He was brought up with four siblings and his father was a wife-beating alcoholic. The boy became a delinquent and spent time in and out of prison for petty crime and violence.
Years after he had been discharged from the army for disobeying orders, he settled down and married his sweetheart, Irmgard Beck, a girl from Germany. They lived modestly and, despite Irmgard giving birth to a handicapped child, the family managed to sustain itself. Irmgard was aware that DeSalvo was highly sexed and tried to avoid intercourse for fear of having another handicapped baby. However, a healthy boy was born and DeSalvo appeared to become a conscientious family man, liked and appreciated by colleagues and his boss. He was also known to be an outrageous braggart, which perhaps led the police to later disbelieve his claims to be the Strangler.
Anna Slesers, a seamstress and devout churchgoer was the first victim to be murdered on the evening of June 14, 1962. She lived on her own in a modest brick house apartment at 77 Gainsborough St. in Boston. Her son Juris was meant to come by to pick her up for a memorial service. When he discovered her body in the bathroom with a cord around her neck tied in a bow, Juris assumed she had committed suicide.
Homicide Detectives James Mellon and John Driscoll found Slesers in an obscene state; nude and stripped of dignity.
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