Case Snapshot
Case ID: 26
Classification: Shooting
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
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Sunday, Dec 31, 1939

County: Suffolk

Disposition: Not Charged

Person of Interest: Albert DeSalvo

Albert DeSalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler, however he never went to trial for these murders. He was convicted for rape and burglary in January 1967. Another inmate stabbed him to death in jail.

When he was in his teens he trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and watched the animals kill each other.  He also shot arrows through the boxes to kill the animals.

Albert DeSalvo, at age 33 was arrested and charged with armed robbery and rape. After spending several months in prison for the criminally insane and sexually dangerous, he confessed to being the Boston Strangler.

Albert Henry DeSalvo was born on September 3, 1931 to Frank and Charlotte DeSalvo in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was the third of 6 children. - 4 boys and two girls. His father was a very abuse individual. His father once sold the children to a Maine farmer for $9.00. His father often brought home prostitutes and had sex with them in front of the children. As part of his fathers' sadistic brutality, he also taught Albert to shoplift.

In November of 1943 at age 12 Albert DeSalvo was arrested for assault, battery and robbery of $2.85. In December he was sent to the Lyman Reform School for boys. On October 26, 1944, he was paroled and went to work as a delivery boy for a florist shop. In August 1946 he went back to the Lyman School for steeling an automobile.

His mother divorced Frank DeSalvo and remarried in August 1945 to Paul Kinosian and had another baby girl. Albert's stepfather had a temper and often took it out on his stepchildren. So when Albert was old enough he joined the service to get away from his stepfather (September 16, 1948 to February 15, 1956).

He was honorably discharged from the service but not before being court marshaled from a specialist E 5 and colonel's orderly to private (August 1951). In 1949 while stationed in Germany he met Irmgard Beck whom 4 years later would become his wife on December 5, 1953. On January 5, 1955, he was arrested in Mt. Holly, NJ for carnal abuse of a child. In December 1955, the carnal abuse charge was nol-prossed. Also in 1955 his daughter Judy was born with a pelvic disease that would strain his marriage.

On January 8, 1958, the Boston Police arrested Albert for suspicion of breaking and entering. On February 15th, the Chelsea police arrested him for breaking and entering in the daytime and on April 18th the Boston Police again arrested him. He was found guilty and sentenced to the house of corrections, which was suspended. On October 26, 1959, he was arrested yet again for breaking and entering in the nighttime and again received a suspended sentence.

In 1960, Albert and Irmgard had a son they named Michael. On March 17, 1961, the Cambridge Police arrested Albert while in the process of breaking and entering. At that same time a series of sexual assaults was occurring by a man calling himself Johnson from the Black & White Modeling Agency. The crime came to be called the Measuring Man because Johnson would take measurements of the women's figure and promise to have someone from the agency call them at a later date. DeSalvo claimed to be Johnson, so the courts sent him to Westborough State Psychiatric Hospital where he was diagnosed as a sociopath.

On May 3rd 1961, Albert DeSalvo was sentenced in Cambridge District Court for assault and battery and breaking and entering. He was remanded to the Billerica House of Correction serving two-year concurrent sentences, but after 4 months the judge reduced the sentence and by April 1962 he was released from prison.

On June 14,1962 the first of the Boston Strangler murders began.

The Murders attributed to the Boston Strangler:

In his short, deranged life, Albert DeSalvo acquired several nicknames. In his twenties, he became known as "The Measuring Man", a serial sec molester who went from door to door posing as a scout for a modeling agency. If the woman was dumb enough to fall for his ruse, he would then produce a tape measure and proceed to indulge in his taste for crude sexual fondling.

Just a few years later, he progressed form molestation to rape, assaulting women throughout NE for two years. At this time, he was known as "The Green Man", because of the green work clothes he wore while committing those crimes.

DeSalvo was the product of an insanely brutal upbringing, where he acquired an early taste for viciousness.

Through a deal struck by his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, DeSalvo was never punished for the murders, but was given a life sentence for the rapes. A fellow inmate stabbed him to death in November 1972.

In 1999, new data had come available to address the possibility of reopening the Boston Strangler Murders. DNA evidence is being reviewed to prove whether Albert DeSalvo was the murderer of these 13 women.

Susan Kelly writes in her book that she believes he was not - that there was more likely to be several murderers possibly 9. And the killers were never charged for these murders, which to date are still listed as unsolved.

Update: 5/12/00
The relatives of Albert DeSalvo have formed an alliance with relatives of the Strangler's last victim to try to prove DeSalvo was not the killer who terrorized the city in the 60's. James Starrs of George Washington University will head a team of experts who will perform DNA tests on evidence from 11 of the 13 slayings. The families have asked the police and the state attorney general's office to turn over any evidence that would help them. Gaining access to that evidence may prove difficult because authorities have been unwilling to reopen the investigation

Update: 5/18/00
The exhumed body of Mary Sullivan shows no signs of a blow to her head despite DeSalvo's 1965 claim that he knocked her unconscious, according to the team of forensic scientists a George Washington University. Animal hairs were also found on her lower body - information never mentioned before in the investigator's reports.

9/14/00 The families of Albert DeSalvo and Mary Sullivan filed a lawsuit today against the State's Attorney General's Office,The Suffolk County District Attorney, The Boston Police, State Police and the State's Chief Medical Examiner, charging them with withholding evidence.

3/1/01 Chief US District Judge William Young announced that 4 out of the 5 counts of the lawsuit brought by the families of DeSalvo and Sullivan could stand. The families are now confident that the lawsuit will go forward. Lawyers for both sides engaged in a brief, technical argument during a hearing with government lawyers. Judge Young ordered that lawyers for both sides not to talk to reporters.

7/20/01 The families for Desalvo and Sullivan claim the Attorney GeneralThomas Reilly is stonewalling the 37 year old murder investigation. The AG's office and the families are at odds over sharing DNA evidence. The AG's office wants DeSalvo's brother Richard to give DNA samples to compare to existing forensic evidence. The DeSalvo and Sullivan families want access to law enforcement evidence for their own investigation. Richard allowed Dr. Steven Miller to swab his mouth and take blood from his finger. He has offered to swap the samples for semen samples taken from the Sullivan crime scene. Elaine Whitfield Sharp, the attorney for both families plans to issue a subpoena within the next few days requiring the AG to turn over the evidence.

12/7/01 New tests show that DNA taken from Mary Sullivan's exhumed body do not match that of DeSalvo states James E. Starrs, a professor of Forensic sciences and Law at george Washington University. The evidence appears to clear DeSalvo of sexual assault in Mary Sullivan's killing and raises significant doubt that DeSalvo killed her.

12/26/01 Superior Court Judge Vieri Volterra has ruled the state is not required to share forensic evidence with the families of Albert DeSalvo and Mary Sullivan because the investigation into the murder remains open. "While this court remains sympathetic to the desires of the Sullivan and DeSalvo families, it cannot involve itself in non-judicial decisions such as determining how, when and whether a criminal investigation will be conducted, Volterra wrote. "So long as the criminal investigation remains ongoing and the items are required as evidence, the plaintiffs have no right to possess that evidence". The suit is still pending against Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans and Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin. The Judges ruling means that AG Thomas Reilly, Dr. Richard Evans, the state's chief medical examiner and John DiFava the former state police superintendent are no longer part of the lawsuit.


  • The Record American Newspaper, Boston, MA
  • The Boston Globe
  • Book "The Boston Strangler" by Gerold Frank
  • Book "The Boston Stranglers" by Susan Kelly
  • The A-z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, Pocket Books
  • The Manchester Union Leader
  • The Boston Herald
  • APB News

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