Boston Strangler
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Boston Strangler: What Crimes Was Albert DeSalvo Convicted Of?

Boston Strangler remains one of the most infamous serial killers in the world, whose identity remains a mystery. The person murdered at least 13 women during the early 1960s. The lack of DNA testing facilities was one of the major reasons for the difficulty in confirming the identity of the Boston Strangler. However, a test of the final victim proved the involvement of Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to being the Boston Strangler.

In the 1960s, Boston witnessed a series of sexual assaults. Simultaneously, the Boston Strangler was associated with a series of murders. Authorities named the rapist the Green Man and began investigating the sexual assaults. Soon, authorities arrested Albert DeSalvo as part of that investigation and questioned elaborately when he confessed to being the Boston Strangler. Several of the sexual assault victims identified him as the perpetrator.

Robbery and sexual assaults remained the only charges that DeSalvo faced. This was because of the lack of DNA testing at the time. Authorities could not confirm whether he was the Boston strangler or not, so his sentence wasn’t based on his confession.

In 1967, Albert DeSalvo received a life in-prison sentence. Shortly after, he escaped from prison and triggered an elaborate search. Only days later, he turned himself in, and authorities shifted him to a maximum security prison to ensure that he couldn’t escape again. In 1973, an inmate in prison stabbed DeSalvo to death.

When authorities caught DeSalvo in a case of rapes that were assumed to be committed by the ‘Green Man,’ DeSalvo confessed that he was the Boston Strangler. He gave explicit details of each crime he committed in elaborate sessions. However, there was no substantial evidence to prove that he was the Boston Strangler.

Was Albert DeSalvo really the Boston Strangler?

Photo Credit: Bettmann | Getty Images

An investigation into the decades-old case of Mary Sullivan’s murder and rape proved that the DNA was matched to DeSalvo’s. She was reportedly the Boston Strangler’s final victim. The serial killer was known to sexually assault the women he targeted before he killed them. All 13 murders were committed between 1962 and 1964, a short span for a long list of victims.

Although his involvement in Mary Sullivan’s murder is very clear, whether or not he committed all the other murders attributed to the Boston Strangler is still unclear. Many journalists, back when DeSalvo was accused, argued that law enforcement authorities could be using DeSalvo’s confession to avoid catching the real serial killer responsible for 13 murders.

In the case of Henry Lee Lucas, who was killed shortly after his confession to being a serial killer responsible for over 600 murders, police reportedly used his name to explain a wide range of crimes. Decades later, DNA testing proved that a lot of the crimes he was accused of were actually not committed by him, and his mental state and confessions were used to cover up a lot of crimes.

Very often, serial killers increase their kill count as it is seen to be a sign of honor. Confessions, therefore, cannot be taken very seriously when not paired with physical evidence.

Boston Strangler is a 2023 historical crime drama currently streaming on Hulu. It explores the crimes of the infamous serial killer and his true identity.

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