Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers


The condemned killer was transferred to Death Row at San Quentin Prison as Prisoner Number A-50239. The space he was given, in a cell apart from the rest of the inmate population, would be shared in later years by Charles Manson and Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez. Life there must have been unbearable for Harvey Murray Glatman: no outlet for his fantasies. No twine, not even his precious camera, snap snap [whirr].

But, he wouldn't have to endure the suffocation of his new abode for very long. His execution was set early for September 18, 1959, at which time he was led into San Quentin's infamous "green room" to inhale cyanide.

The procedure, which began at 10 a.m., took twelve minutes in all. Much less than the length of time it took for him to march his victims through their separate agonies. The chamber door was locked at 10:01; he was strapped in place by 10:02; the sodium cyanide pellets dropped a minute later and, within seconds, they dissolved to emanate forth fumes across and up his nostrils; doctors beyond the viewing glass rated his pulse at 200, but by 10:05 it had plunged to 60; he gasped at 10:06, drooled at 10:07, and his head dropped, bobbed, bobbed again, and twitched.

By 10:12 a.m., September 18, 1959, the lady killer expired.

It was a ghastly way to die.

A true punishment for Harvey Glatman who would have been much, much happier, maybe even ecstatic, had he been hung by rope.