Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers


For a while, he lay beside her, having finished with her. She didn't dare look at him, was afraid to, but she heard his breathing that still came in sporadic bursts. Somehow, he sounded undone. "I have an idea," he suddenly said, propping himself on his arm beside her.

She jumped at the abrupt breaking of silence and looked at him for the first time since before her rape. He was chuckling like the naughty little boy she thought he was.

"Let's go on a picnic."

"I don't understand..." she shook her head but dreaded to think what he really meant. "It's after midnight."

"So, who says two people who just made love can't go on a nice romantic picnic at night?" He giggled and pulled her by her bound wrists to her feet. It hurt, but he disregarded her groans. "I will untie you if you promise not to cry out or run."

"I promise," she played it cooly.

"Good," he said as he unwound the rope, "then get dressed." He handed her her panties, but only after reveling in their silken touch awhile.

Mercado dressed in a flash, not sure exactly what was in store for her. Picnic? She didn't ask, only hoped that whatever it was that she would be able to walk away from this alive. In the meantime, her brain rushed to keep her panic down. From time to time, she even batted a wink in his direction.

Watching her cover that body he had just enjoyed, Glatman, gun in hand, flopped back in a chair, thinking. Those fake smiles, he thought, trying to butter me up. He knew better, and he knew her ploy wouldn't work. Yet, he felt sorry for her. He didn't want to kill her, but...well, forget that for now. First there were the pictures to take.

His camera was in his car, and he was going to do to her what he had done with   to! the others: take her to his favorite spot beyond the city and shoot some (what he liked to call) "souvenirs" in memory of the night. He had gone too far with this Mercado now just to leave without the real reward. They, the pictures, were better than the sex.

They would last long after she was buzzard bait.

As she was clothed now, he again tied her wrists. Directing her toward the front door, he threw her coat over her shoulders to hide the sight of the binds holding her wrists. Simultaneously, he wrapped his own coat over the crook of his arm that held the pistol. She marched in front of him and followed his directions to his car, a battered black Dodge Cornet, several years old and as unglamorous as her kidnapper. Sliding inside the vehicle, she noticed an expensive Rolleicord camera lying on the backseat, along with some accompanying gear.

"Are we taking photos?" she addressed him while he fumbled for the right key on an overloaded key ring. Looking at her, he grinned, nodded, churned the ignition, and then pressed the accelerator to produce a not too impressive "wheelie". The jalopy left Pico Street with a squeal, turned south, then straight for where she expected, the Santa Ana Freeway.

"Do you have a studio?" Mercado seemed to be recovering her voice. Again, he merely nodded. The while he kept his pistol on his lap.

Through Orange County the Dodge rolled until it picked up the Intercoastal Highway just beyond San Juan Capistrano. At Oceanside, Harvey wheeled his car east past Escanada, then into the desert. By then, the sun had tipped the horizon and had already brought unbearable heat to the sandy surface. But, that didn't bother Harvey Glatman. He found a spot to park, a place he considered remote, where he could do what he wanted to this latest bitch without interference from the California Highway Patrol.

Keeping her hands immobile, he raped her again in the desert under the rising sun. Undressing her, he then shot photos of her in a number of positions, demanding that she pose more graphically with each click of the shutter. Snap snap, whiiirrr.  Snap snap...whiiirrr. If she whined, he would reach for the pistol in his jeans pocket, a move that discouraged further griping.

As the day waned, he realized the inevitable had come.

He would later tell the police, he didn't want to kill her. Hadn't wanted to kill any of them really, especially this Rojas whom he liked the best at least she tried to smile but, there was little else he could do. Raped, abducted, forced to pose pornographically really now, he couldn't let her go.

Ruth Mercado must have known her hopes were gone and her death had come when he told her to pose as if she were dead. Close your eyes, lie there, don't a corpse. She closed her eyes...snap, click...whirr...snap, click...whirr...snap, click.

Ruth Mercado's pose, before her death
Ruth Mercado's pose, before her death

Then she felt him hovering. She opened her eyes and watched him strap her ankles together. Before she could ask, he tossed another loop of hemp around her neck, and rolled her over on her stomach. As if roping a steer, he kneeled on her back deadweight while stringing all ends of the ropes together. She couldn't breathe. While she certainly struggled, he yanked on the rope to keep her in place. One final yank and she fell still.

Stripping her down to her panties, he took a couple more photos, shaping the mannequin into a dozen more poses. Satisfied that he had captured the essence of his trophy, Harvey rolled the body to where a growth of mesquite sprouted profusely and where she would soon be nourishment for the coyotes. Packing his camera, his tripod, his ropes and the blanket he had used for them to lie on when making love, he felt pleased with himself.

Well, true...he felt somewhat sorry for the bitch, but...what did Doris Day sing in that song?" Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be."

He turned toward the woman one more time and couldn't believe that that dead thing with blank expression and twisted mouth had turned him on. That didn't matter. He was heading home now to his darkroom where she was very much alive, frozen eternally alive on film. 


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