Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler

Terror in Columbus



Jean Dimenstien
Jean Dimenstien
Jean Dimenstien was a friendly, 71-year-old woman who wore large Harlequin glasses and had her light hair styled in a series of soft waves. Before retiring, she and her brother, Fred, had co-owned and managed Fred and Jean's Department Store. She often dined out with friends. She was frightened about the news reports about a murderer targeting elderly women and had discussed it with neighbors.

On the night of September 25, 1977, someone took the hinge pins off of Dimenstien's front door and entered her home. He punched the woman in the face, raped her, and then strangled her to death with a nylon stocking.

With the report of Dimenstien's murder, the elderly women of Columbus plunged into panic. Many put extra locks and deadbolts on their doors. Women who had not previously owned firearms bought guns.

The police department of Columbus was working hard to catch this predator and protect the city's older women. "Stakeouts were arranged throughout the Wynnton area," Jordan wrote. "Marked and unmarked patrol cars combed the neighborhood. Undercover police officers were hidden inside the homes of elderly residents who were thought to be the most likely targets."

Meanwhile, the woman who had been assaulted five days before Ferne Jackson had recovered enough to talk to police. Her attacker had been a stranger, she said, and was a black male.

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