Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harrison Graham: The Corpse Collector

Surprise Testimony

Right away, there was a surprise.  A woman named Paula testified for the prosecution that she had lived with Graham for three years and, during sex, he would place his hands around her throat and squeeze.  On several occasions she thought he was killing her and said that he actually wanted to hurt her.  He told her that he'd killed one of his former girlfriends, Robin DeShazor, because he'd been angry that she was seeing other men. Graham had threatened Paula with the same treatment. She also said that he'd admitted to practicing necrophilia with the corpse, provoking an outburst from Graham, who accused her of lying.  But she continued to talk about how he'd barricaded her into the apartment, threatened her with a machete, and sometimes raped her when she was in a stupor from drugs.

Paula also said that she'd visited Graham after she moved out and had smelled a foul stench from the room they'd previously used as a bedroom. He'd told her it was from a bucket into which he urinated and warned her, like Bluebeard, never to look into that back room if she was there alone, because she wouldn't be able to deal with what she would find.

Henri-Landru, the serial killer also known as Bluebeard
Henri-Landru, the serial killer also known as Bluebeard

However, the fact that Graham had beaten Robin DeShazor to death rather than killing her by asphyxiation, coupled with the fact that Paula had survived her three years with him, helped the defense.  In addition, this testimony added credibility to the possibility that Graham was unable to appreciate what he was doing.

 

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