Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers

Nabbed

Harvey had so far been able to control women with a gun and a rope, especially a rope, his symbol of sexual power. He now believed he could go on doing it forever.

That is where he goofed.

In the summer of 1958 Glatman had discovered the Diane Studio, one of the higher-priced but better reputed modeling agencies on Sunset Boulevard. Its models were often chosen by legitimate cameramen for magazine ads and TV commercials; Diane, the owner, often posed herself. Of course, the studio attracted the shutterbugs, too, like Harvey Glatman willing to pay as high as $30 for an hour's striptease.

It was to Diane's that Harvey came late afternoon of October 27 wanting to rent a model's time. Actually, he wanted Diane herself, but the proprietor, who was familiar with the man she knew as Frank Johnson, was totally turned off by his unkempt hair and repugnant body odor. Pretending to be too busy to accommodate him, she nevertheless offered studio space and the use of one of her particular models if the girl would accept. "Frank" was game, so Diane phoned a woman who had, in fact, just signed on the previous week. Lorraine Vigil, eager for her first modeling gig, accepted. Diane made the arrangements: Harvey would pick her up at eight.

However, after the unfavorable client left, Diane ruminated. She called Lorraine back to warn her, "Be careful with this loser. He's not a professional and is, er, rather creepy you know what I mean?" Vigil promised she would take care and thanked the agent for the advice.

With Diane's alert signal still ringing in her ears, it was with great reticence that Vigil got into Harvey's old Dodge that night; she watched his every move as he bent to release the clutch and silently head toward the Santa Ana Freeway.

"The studio's not this way," she instructed.

"Oh...didn't I tell you? I've been pre-empted by another client. We're going to my private studio instead."

No no, thought Lorraine to herself. The signal started to vibrate inside her head.

"Are you sure?"

"Cross my heart," he giggled, and did so. It was the first time that Lorraine really took a good look at his face. Even his grin was unsavory.

She kept quiet, not wanting to make a fuss. This was her first job for the Diane Studio and didn't want to earn bad marks right off the bat as an unwilling client. As the Dodge rattled along, down the freeway past one exit ramp after another, seemingly speeding up with the mileage, she mustered up enough nerve to ask Harvey who had not uttered one word since he giggled and crossed his heart where his studio was. "A little further," he said. "Anaheim."

But, the Anaheim exits had come and gone, she noted. "Didn't you pass it?"

"Forget it!" he growled. Otherwise, he remained close-mouthed, only staring straight ahead through the glimmering windshield. The lights from the freeway, gutted with shadows, curled his expression into an eerie grimace. From beside him, Vigil dropped her eyes to his foot, which was bearing down on the gas pedal.

Diane's alarms clanged in her skull: Be careful with this loser...creepy...creepy... creepy...

"Listen, I have a right to know" Vigil quaked, but he sawed her off with a groan.

"Shuttup!"

"Hey, you," she protested now. "You'd better tell me where we're going or"

Viciously, he swung the car into a dangerous turn grabbing the forthcoming exit, impulsively crossing two lanes to take it. Vigil slammed against the door panel. As she tried to sit up again, her eyes caught the overhead road marker, "Tustin Ranch Road." The car, slowing up after the spontaneous turnabout, came to a stop on the side of the road just below the off ramp.

"Are you trying to kill us?" the woman screamed.

"Hold out your arms," he said.

"What?"

"I said hold out your arms. You're getting on my nerves. I'm going to tie you up and shut you up!" To emphasize the seriousness of his order, he whipped out a gun, and watched the bitch recoil at its sight. But when her fingers wrapped around the door handle in an attempt to flee, he grabbed her. Yanking her into him, he wrapped her body, twisting her around in the motion, trying desperately to coil the length of rope that seemed to appear out of nowhere around her arms. But, she fought.

He hadn't expected this. The others hadn't grappled, why was she a tiger? "Stay still!" he grumbled and tried like hell to keep her away from the car door. Once outside she would be able to flag down any number of automobiles that drove by...and then...God forbid!

She continued to wrestle until both their hands wrapped the gun barrel. In one awkward reflex, the pistol exploded and a bullet seared through a section of Vigil's skirt skimming her thigh. The noise jolted her attacker who, in that instant, released his hold on her. Thinking fast, she kicked at the door handle and, as the door bounced open, she pushed herself out with it. Landing on the gravel, she felt him behind her, then his hands on her sweater, trying to haul her back inside.

Lorraine Vigil demonstrating how Glatman grabbed her throat
Lorraine Vigil demonstrating how Glatman grabbed her throat

Just as she felt herself being reeled in, the night lit up with a great glare of white that, as both scrappers paused, turned into two distinct headlights of a police sedan. Vigil ran to it and realized, for the first time, she still held onto her attacker's pistol. She dropped it before the two policemen emerging from the auto and fell at their feet sobbing.

As for Harvey Glatman, he cowered beside his car, whimpering, mumbling something about it not being his fault.

Highway Patrolman Tom Mulligan later testified, "He had a lunatic stare. I'll never forget that wild look he had in his eyes."

 

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