Harvey Glatman: Serial Killer Obsessed with Ropes & Death

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From an early age, Harvey exhibited signs of antisocial behavior and a propensity for violence. Born on October 10, 1927, in Bronx, New York, Harvey harbored a passion for art and photography from a young age.

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Upon relocating to Denver, Colorado, while still learning to walk, Harvey attended Denver East High School, where he engaged in the school’s band activities. It was during this time that Harvey’s tendencies towards antisocial behavior and violence began to surface.

The Escalating Offenses

As a teenager, Harvey embarked on a spree of house burglaries, pilfering trophies and, on one occasion, a firearm. Initially random, these thefts took on a more targeted nature as Harvey honed in on homes occupied by attractive women. He would stalk his targets, gaining entry through windows to perpetrate his crimes. Subduing his victims, he would bind them with cords he habitually carried.

Though young, Harvey resorted to the stolen firearm to further control his victims. He would then undress and sexually assault them. For Harvey, the act of binding and the victims’ helplessness sufficed, but for the victims, it was a harrowing abuse.

On May 18, 1945, Harvey Glatman was apprehended attempting to break into Elma Hamum’s apartment. Upon arrest, police found him in possession of cords and a revolver. Harvey quickly confessed to the burglaries but omitted the assaults.

Upon release, Harvey abducted Norene Laurel, taking her to Sunshine Canyon. As before, he merely harassed her without sexual intercourse before returning her home.

Norene promptly reported Harvey’s crimes, leading to his swift re-arrest. He was sentenced to a year in Colorado state prison but released early after eight months for good behavior.

Concerned for her son, Harvey’s mother, Ophelia, sought psychiatric help. At 19, these weren’t typical tendencies. The doctor diagnosed Harvey’s fear of women and suggested exposure therapy, such as dance classes, to ease interactions with women.

Ophelia then brought her son back to New York, renting him an apartment in Yonkers. He secured a job at a local TV repair shop, utilizing skills learned in prison.

Here, his offenses escalated. Harvey targeted alluring women he encountered. In 1946, he was arrested and sentenced to 5-10 years in prison. Due to his age, he was sent to Elmira Rehabilitation Facility, later transferred to Sing Sing. Two years later, with a record of good behavior, he was released.

In January 1957, now 30, Harvey moved to Los Angeles, California, pursuing his passion for photography. He opened a studio on Melrose Avenue, operating under the alias Johnny Glenn.

The First Victim: Judith Dull

At 19, Judith Dull found herself embroiled in a custody battle with her husband, prompting her to model to cover court expenses. It was at this vulnerable juncture that Harvey reached out, offering her a lucrative gig, which she promptly accepted.

Judith Dull

Upon arriving at his apartment, Harvey promptly bound her and proceeded to photograph her before subjecting her to repeated sexual assaults. This marked Harvey’s first instance of actual sexual intercourse with a woman. Afterward, he drove her to the outskirts of Los Angeles, strangling her to death.

The Second Victim: Shirley Bridgeford

Twenty-four-year-old Shirley met Harvey Glatman through the Lonely Hearts Club, advertised in a local newspaper for those seeking companionship. They arranged a dinner date, opting for Oceanside due to Shirley’s crowded home. Post-dinner, Harvey drove Shirley to the desert, miles away from her residence.

Shirley Bridgeford

Here, he repeated the modus operandi employed with Judith. He raped Shirley multiple times, coercing her out of the car, bound, for further photography. However, a broken flashbulb necessitated waiting for dawn to capture images of Shirley.

Upon completion, Harvey strangled Shirley and left her corpse in the desert to be ravaged by wildlife.

The Third Victim: Ruth Mercado

In July 1958, Ruth posted an ad seeking modeling work in a local paper. Seizing the opportunity, Harvey promptly contacted her, abducting her from her own apartment.

Ruth Mercado

Ruth endured the same horrors as Shirley and Judy, being photographed while bound before being raped and murdered by Harvey. Her remains were eventually found near Shirley Bridgeford’s.

The Fourth Victim: Lorraine Vigil

Newcomer to modeling, 28-year-old Lorraine Vigil, eagerly anticipated her first photoshoot. The modeling agency informed Lorraine that the photographer would pick her up from her apartment. Little did she know, the photographer was none other than Harvey Glatman.

Sitting in the car, Lorraine grew uneasy as Harvey drove her onto the freeway. Pre-warned about Harvey’s amateur status, possibly desiring nude shots, Lorraine remained vigilant.

As Harvey attempted to bind Lorraine with his customary cords, she resisted. In the struggle, Lorraine seized Harvey’s gun and fled. A passing police car facilitated Harvey’s arrest.

The Serial Killer’s Denouement

Upon arrest, Harvey Glatman swiftly confessed to his crimes. Police discovered evidence at his apartment, including photographs of his victims pre-mortem. Clothing belonging to some victims was found in his possession.

In an interview, Harvey stated, “I guess I’ve always been fascinated with cords. I’ve had them in my hands since I was a kid.”

Ultimately, Harvey Glatman was sentenced to death for murder. On September 18, 1958, he was executed in the gas chamber, aged 31.

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