Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harrison Graham: The Corpse Collector

Articulate, Talented, Religious

During breaks, Graham would sketch the faces of women.  The detectives were surprised to find that Graham was articulate, was a talented artist, and was not, as they'd assumed, illiterate.  He apparently read the Bible avidly.

In the end, the detectives had Graham's 10-page statement, which included details about each murder, and his feelings about what he'd done.  He insisted many times that he hadn't meant to kill anyone, and to him, the deaths were accidental.  They were due to his sexual technique: He'd held them around the neck and had probably pressed too hard.

Graham was arraigned, dressed in pajamas and slippers, and held without bail while a preliminary hearing was set.  At issue was his background of mental illness, which also raised questions about his competency to have waived his right to a lawyer and to have confessed.  He received a public defender, Joel S. Moldovsky, and went into solitary confinement at the city detention center.  The two sides squared off in preparation for battle in court.  Moldovksy, who insisted that Graham should have been given a public defender right away, learned that he'd been handcuffed to a chair for hours as he was interrogated, and that a public defender had been available in the building.  Apparently Graham hadn't realized he could have asked for that person's assistance.  When this procedure was criticized in the press by the city's chief public defender, Benjamin J. Lerner, Detective Hansen responded that Graham's mother had been present throughout the questioning.

Joel S. Moldovsky
Joel S. Moldovsky

Around this time, the police teams finished their investigation and placed tin sheets over the open doorways and broken windows of the empty building.  They also sealed Graham's former apartment, now clear of trash.

There would be no more gruesome discoveries, but the legal battle was now heating up.  The DA needed witnesses, and they soon arrived.


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