The Conviction of Albert DeSalvo

It was 1964 when Albert DeSalvo was locked into prison for the remainder of his life for the crimes committed by The Green Man. The public was pleased to have DeSalvo locked away for life. Yet, Albert DeSalvo was not forgotten about by the public like most criminals once locked away. After some months at the Bridgewater State Hospital and befriending George Nasser, a convicted murderer, Albert DeSalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler to his psychiatrist.

DeSalvo could describe each murder in detail, along with how each murder made him feel. However, no evidence could directly link him to the crimes of the famous silk stocking murders. DeSalvo’s wife and friends could not believe that DeSalvo was capable of murder. Even a police officer working closely with DeSalvo on the case described DeSalvo as a pathological liar in A&E Biography’s television series “The Boston Strangler Part 1”. Thus, how could a pathological liar be named the killer when no evidence directly links him?

This is the question that drove many people to derive a theory that could uncover the truth about the real Boston Strangler. A theory was created that DeSalvo was not the Boston Strangler and it was actually George Nasser, the murderer DeSalvo met before he was moved to the Walpole Maximum Security State Prison. The theory postulates that DeSalvo was already sentenced to life in prison, unlike George Nasser. It was Nasser that told the police that DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler. However, if George previously gave every detail of the murders to DeSalvo, when the police questioned DeSalvo he could confess to the murders, leaving the reward money to Nasser. It is believed that DeSalvo agreed to it if he could split the reward money with Nasser for himself and his family. When Irmgard is told by the police questioning her that her husband confessed to being the Boston Strangler, it is noted that she to the police that he could never do such a thing and is probably doing it for the reward money.

Yet, there is no real evidence that can prove this theory except by one eye witness’s testimony; the account of Gertrude Gruen. Gertrude Gruen was one of the Boston Strangler victims that managed to aggressively fight off her attacker. In a police line up of men, one being Albert DeSalvo, Gruen said none of the men were the man that attacked  her. However, while in passing Gruen saw Nessar and said: “something unsettling, something frighteningly familiar about the man” while later talking about the encounter (

Before 1967 when DeSalvo was stabbed to death in his prison cell, DeSalvo recanted his confession of being the Boston Strangler and was known to have been complaining that he was sick of still being thought of as the Boston Strangler. But before DeSalvo could fully confess to who the real Boston Strangler was, he was silenced through death. Until just a few years ago people believed the truth died with DeSalvo. In 2010, the blood of the nephew of Albert DeSalvo was found to be extremely similar to the DNA found at the crime season of the Mary Sullivan, the final victim of the Boston Strangler. The link between DeSalvo and the crimes lead the excavation of his body and the tests that determined that DeSalvo was the murderer of Mary Sullivan.

Although linked to the last of the murders, questions still arise to if DeSalvo is the real Boston Strangler or if he was acting alone. Many police records show that there could easily have been two different murders from the drastic changes in styles of killings. There were elderly victims raped with objects, yet younger girls who were raped and left with the DNA of their killer. The theories circulate, but will never be able to be proven. However, the question arises if I’ve been saying it wrong this whole time, I should I be saying the Boston Stranglers…?

The Boston Strangler Movie Poster, 1968

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