The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Glatman, Harvey Murray
Harvey Glatman was another random killer who selected victims from the want-ads. As a child, obsessed with ropes and bondage, Glatman had engaged in masochistic sessions where he hanged himself from rafters in the attic, gaining sexual release when he was on the verge of blacking out. A family physician counseled Harvey's parents that he would undoubtedly "grow out of it" if they could only find a way to "keep him busy." As an adolescent, Glatman turned to snatching purses from attractive girls, laughing at the "joke" before he gave their handbags back. In 1945, he tried to make a girl disrobe by threatening her with a cap gun; he was picked up by police, but fled immediately to New York when he was freed on bail. A robbery conviction there resulted in a five-year prison sentence. He was still receiving psychiatric treatment at the time of his release in 1951.
Apparently reformed, he settled in Los Angeles and opened up a small TV repair shop, with a sideline interest in photography. The former convict led a quiet bachelor life, avoiding social contact with the opposite sex for six long years, while inwardly he seethed with morbid lust. In late July of 1957, Glatman made a fateful house call and encountered model Judy Dull, nineteen. Explaining that he did some free-lance work for pulp detective magazines -- "the typical bound and gagged stuff" -- he persuaded Judy to accept a modeling assignment, at a fee of fifty dollars.
On the evening of August 1, Judy Dull arrived at Glatman's home prepared to model for the cover of a magazine, but Harvey had a rather different spread in mind. At gunpoint, Glatman raped his victim several times, then drove her to a lonely stretch of desert near the town of Indio, 125 miles east of Los Angeles. There, he photographed the sobbing woman in her underwear, strangled her with rope, and dug a shallow grave to hide her corpse.
Enlisting with a "lonely hearts" club, Glatman found his second victim, Shirley Bridgeford, during March of 1958. On their first and only date, he drove her to the desert east of San Diego, all the while attempting to impress her with his fabled skills as a photographer. Although she had come dressed for dinner in a formal supper club, Shirley let herself be talked into a set of bondage photographs, presumably for a detective magazine. When she was bound and helpless to resist, Glatman dropped his act, assaulting her repeatedly and forcing her to pose for photographs before he choked her with a length of rope and left her corpse to rot behind a clump of cactus.
On July 23, Glatman read an advertisement placed by Ruth Mercado, part-time stripper, who was seeking modeling assignments. Glatman summoned her to his apartment, where he met her with a pistol, raped her several times, then drove her to the desert for a photo session and the usual strangulation with his favorite rope.
Convinced that he had found a steady source of victims in the classifieds, Glatman started placing advertisements on his own. A number of young women telephoned or met with Harvey, but became suspicious of his mannerisms and declined to take the jobs he offered them. A fraction less perceptive than the others, 28-year-old Loraine Vigil was in Glatman's car, desert-bound along the Santa Ana Freeway, when he pulled a pistol and demanded that she shed her clothes. When she resisted, Harvey shot her in the thigh, but then his would-be victim seized the pistol, holding Glatman and his rope at bay until a lawman on patrol drove by and noticed her predicament.
In custody, the want-ad killer readily confessed his crimes, deriving pleasure from a recitation of the gruesome details. Glatman was convicted in a three-day trial, condemned to die, and he rejected every effort of his lawyers to initiate appeals. "It's better this way," he explained. "I knew this was the way it would be." In August 1959, securely bound for one last time, Glatman breathed the lethal fumes of cyanide in California's gas chamber, at San Quentin.
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