Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harrison Graham: The Corpse Collector

Guilty, but...

Harrison Graham
Harrison Graham

Judge Latrone found Graham guilty on all counts of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.  As Latrone spoke, Graham sat up straight, blinked his eyes and shook his head.  Moldovsky later told reporters, "I assume he knows he was found guilty, but I'm not sure."  He then prepared to keep Graham from being executed during the sentencing phase.  Despite the evidence, Graham's mother still insisted that he was innocent.  "He's taking a fall," she said, meaning that he'd been set up by the landlord and his cronies.  "He don't know what's going on."

Graham actually laughed and signed autographs, claiming he was not worried.  "That's just how I am," he said.  He turned down the opportunity to allow a jury to decide his sentence.  He simply wanted his Cookie Monster back.  Moldovsky thought he should be spared the death penalty so that psychologists could study him.  A psychologist, Dr. Gerald Cooke, offered a statement that he had organic brain damage (although he was not an expert on the subject and this issue had already been dismissed by a neurologist).  Cooke also said that Graham suffered from "sexual sadism," which is not a mental illness that makes a person insane or absolves him of guilt, so he seemed to be an ineffective witness on key issues.

During all this, the Daily News printed a story about the relatives and friends of Cookie Mathis, a victim.  They discussed how they'd "known" when they'd first heard reports, that Cookie was among the victims.  Her husband heard about the shirt found on a body and knew it was his wife.  He'd bought it for her.


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