Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Boston Strangler

Green Man

Early in November of 1964, almost three years after he had been released from jail, DeSalvo was arrested again. This time the charges were more serious than breaking and entering and measuring prospective models.

On October 27, a newly married woman lay in bed dozing just after her husband left for work. Suddenly, there was a man in her room who put a knife to her throat. "Not a sound or I'll kill you," he told her.

He stuffed her underwear in her mouth and tied her in a spread eagle position to the bedposts with her clothes. He kissed her and fondled her, and then he asked her how to get out of the apartment. "You be quiet for ten minutes." Finally he apologized and fled.

She got a very good look at his face. The police sketch reminded the detectives of the Measuring Man.

They brought DeSalvo to the station where she was able to observe him through a one-way mirror. There was no doubt about it. He was the man. DeSalvo was released on bail. Routinely, his photo went over the police teletype network and soon calls came in from Connecticut where they were seeking a sexual assailant they called the Green Man, because he wore green work pants.

Police arrested him at home and arranged for the victims to identify him. He was mortified that his wife would see him in handcuffs. His wife was not surprised. Albert was obsessed with sex. No one woman would ever be enough for him. In fact, the Green Man had assaulted four women in one day in different towns in Connecticut. His wife told him to be completely truthful and not to hold anything back.

He admitted to breaking into four hundred apartments and a couple of rapes. He had assaulted some 300 women in a four-state area. Given DeSalvo's tendency to aggrandize, it was difficult to tell if the number was really that high. Many of the instances had gone unreported and in those that were, the women were reticent to describe what all he did to them.

"If you knew the whole story you wouldn't believe it," he told one of the cops. "It'll all come out. You'll find out."

DeSalvo was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for observation. While the police did not believe that DeSalvo could be the Strangler, they wanted the psychiatrist there to examine him.

Shortly after DeSalvo arrived at Bridgewater, a dangerous man named George Nassar also became an inmate. He had been charged with a vicious execution-style murder of a gas station attendant. Nassar was no ordinary thug. His IQ approached genius level and his ability to manipulate people was highly developed. While in prison for an earlier murder, he had been studying Russian and other subjects. He was put in the same ward with DeSalvo and became his confidant.

 

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