Albert Henry Desalvo

By Gerardo Vasquez


  • Born in Massachusetts during 1931, Albert DeSalvo was the product of a violent and abusive home. His father, Frank DeSalvo beat his mother and siblings regularly, and was thrown in jail on two occasions prior to the divorce that split their family in 1944.

Early life...

  • Fleeing a record of teenage arrests for breaking and entering, Albert joined the army at 17 and was stationed in Germany. He married a German girl and brought her back to the United States when he was transferred home. While at Fort Dix, New Jersey, DeSalvo was charged with molesting a nine-year-old girl in January 1955, but the child's mother declined to press charges, he received an honorable discharge in 1956.

From bad to worse...

  • Things got bad with the birth of their first child in 1958, a shortage of cash made DeSalvo go back to a life of petty crime. During this time, women in Massachusetts began falling prey to the "Measuring Man," a smooth-talking impostor who posed as a talent scout for a modeling agency who would go door-to-door in search of "new talent." Once inside a home, the man would use a measuring tape to "record" the victims "vital statistics" in order to fondle them intimately in the process. Some reported to the police, but many didn't. On March 17, 1960 police arrested DeSalvo on suspicion of burglary, where he confessed to his role as the "Measuring Man." Charged with assault, battery, and attempted breaking and entering he was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

The "Green Man"

  • Paroled after 11 months, he was driven by sexual frustration to take on a more aggressive and violent role as the "Green Man" due to his green work clothes. DeSalvo launched a two-year campaign of sexual assaults that claimed victims in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Police would later estimate that he had raped at least 300 women, while DeSalvo placed the total closer to 2,000.
  • While police in New England looked for the "Green Man" Boston homicide detectives were looking for another killer blamed for the deaths of 11 women between June 1962 and July 1964. In every case, the victims had been raped and their bodies laid out nude, as if on display. Death was always due to strangulation along with a stocking, pillow case, or other object left around the victim's neck tied with an "ornamental" bow earning him the name of the "Boston Strangler."

The "Boston Strangler" and victims...

  • Anna Slessers, 55, had been the first to die, strangled with the cord of her bathrobe on June 14, 1962. A nylon stocking was used to kill 68 year old Nina Nichols on June 30, and Helen Blake, 65, was found the same day with a stocking and bra knotted around her neck. On August 19, 75 year old Ida Irga was manually strangled in her home "decorated" with a knotted pillow case, and 67 year old Jane Sullivan had been dead a week when she was found on August 20 strangled with her own stockings and slumped over the edge of the bathtub with her face submerged.
  • A change to killing younger women came in May 6, 1963 when the killer used a knife on the 23 year old Beverly Samans, stabbing her victim 22 times before looping the traditional nylon stocking around her neck. On November 23, strangling 23 year old Joann Graff, leaving teethmarks in her breast. The final victim, 19 year old Mary Sullivan, was found on January 4, 1964 strangled with a scarf, the shaft of a broomstick protruding from her vagina.

The beginning of the end...

  • Ten months later, on November 3, DeSalvo was hauled in for questioning on rape charges, after one of the "Green Man's" victims gave police a description strongly resembling the "Measuring Man." DeSalvo's confession to a long series of rapes landed him in the Bridgewater State Hospital, committed for observation, and where he was befriended by George Nassar, a convicted murderer facing trial in his second robbery-slaying since 1948. Their private discussions were interspersed with visits from police, ultimately leading to DeSalvo's full confession in the "Boston Strangler" crimes.
  • DeSalvo never came to trial for homicide in Boston. Lawyer F. Lee Bailey managed to negotiate a deal in 1967, where Albert received a term of life imprisonment for crimes committed as the "Green Man." He was never charged with the crimes committed by the "Boston Strangler," then in November 1973 he was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate at Walpole Prison.