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On This Day in True Crime: Albert DeSalvo (The Boston Strangler) is Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Albert DeSalvo going to court


January 18th, 1967. Albert DeSalvo, who admitted to being the ‘Boston Strangler,’ was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of assault and armed robbery against four women in Connecticut.


Albert DeSalvo claims that he murdered 13 women in the Boston area between June 1962 and January 1964.

The victims of the Boston Strangler
The victims

The women, aged between 19 and 85, were sexually assaulted and then strangled to death. Some of the victims were found with ribbons tied around their necks, a hallmark of the serial killer.

During the trial, DeSalvo’s lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, attempted to prove that DeSalvo was guilty of the murders, and should be found insane and sent to a psychiatric hospital for life.

F. Lee Bailey would go on to state: “There were 13 acts of homicide by a completely homicidal vegetable walking in the form of a human being.”

Crime scene of The Boston Strangler
Crime Scene of The Boston Strangler

The jury found DeSalvo legally sane and not guilty of the murders.

The murders created an intense climate of fear for women in Boston. Some nailed their apartment windows shut, and others carried pepper spray, ammonia and tear-gas bombs to protect themselves.

One month after his trial, in February, he escaped with two fellow inmates from Bridgewater State Hospital. Turning himself in after three days, he was sent to the Walpole prison, where he recanted his Strangler confessions.

DeSalvo, on November 25, 1973, was found stabbed to death in the prison infirmary.

Grave of The Boston Strangler killer, Albert DeSalvo
DeSalvo’s Grave

To this day, in 2020, there is still a small degree of uncertainty as to whether DeSalvo was, in fact, responsible for all of the Strangler murders. If you are interested, the theories and evidence for both sides makes for compelling reading.

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