Harvey Glatman

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Harvey Glatman
Harvey Murray Glatman.jpeg
Colorado State Penitentiary mugshot
Born December 10, 1927
The Bronx, New York City
Died September 18, 1959(1959-09-18) (aged 31)
San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, California
Cause of death
Gas chamber
Other names The Glamour Girl Slayer
The Lonely-Hearts Killer
Criminal penalty
Conviction(s) Kidnapping
Victims 3 Known + 1 suspected
Span of killings
August 1, 1957–July 13, 1958
Country USA
State(s) California
Date apprehended
October 31, 1958

Harvey Murray Glatman (December 10, 1927 – September 18, 1959) was an American serial killer active during the late 1950s. He was known in the media as "The Lonely Hearts Killer."

Early life[edit]

Born in the Bronx to a Jewish family and raised in Colorado, Glatman exhibited antisocial behavior and sadomasochistic sexual tendencies from an early age. At the age of 12, his parents noticed he had a red, swollen neck, and he described being in the bathtub, placing a rope around his neck, running it through the tub drain, and pulling it tight against his neck, "achieving some kind of sexual pleasure from this act." His mother took him to the family physician and was told he "would grow out of it."[1] As a teenager, he would break into women's apartments, where he tied them up, raped them and took pictures as souvenirs. He was caught in one such act in 1945 and charged with attempted burglary. Less than a month later, while still out on bail awaiting trial, he kidnapped another woman in Boulder, Colorado and raped her before letting her go. She went to the police, and Glatman went to prison for eight months.

Once out of prison, Glatman moved to Albany, New York, where he was eventually arrested in 1946 for a series of muggings. He served time at the New York State Reception Center at Elmira and then in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, where prison psychiatrists diagnosed him as a psychopath. He was nevertheless a model prisoner and was paroled in 1951. He returned to Denver in 1951 and lived there until 1957. He worked as a TV repairman and hired young women to pose for him in bondage situations. He claimed that his photos would be published on the covers of detective magazines, but none were.


Glatman moved to Los Angeles, California in 1957 and started trolling around modeling agencies looking for potential victims. He would contact them with offers of work for pulp fiction magazines, take them back to his apartment, tie them up and sexually assault them, taking pictures all the while. He would then strangle them and dump the bodies in the desert. His two known model victims were Judith Dull and Ruth Mercado. A third victim, Shirley Ann Bridgeford, was met through a Lonely Hearts ad in the newspaper.

Glatman is also a suspect in the slaying of "Boulder Jane Doe", a victim whose corpse was discovered by hikers near Boulder, Colorado in 1954.[2] Her identity remained a mystery for 55 years. In October 2009, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by Dr. Terry Melton, of Mitotyping Technologies in State College, Pennsylvania, that her lab had made a match between "Jane Doe's" DNA profile and that of a woman who thought the unidentified murder victim might be her long-lost sister.[3] The positive identification of "Boulder Jane Doe" was an 18-year-old woman from Phoenix, Arizona, named Dorothy Gay Howard.[4][5][6]

Glatman was in Colorado at the time and was driving a 1951 Dodge Coronet. The damage done to the body was consistent with being hit by the same car.

Arrest and death[edit]

Glatman was arrested in 1958, caught in the act of kidnapping what would have been his fourth known murder victim, Lorraine Vigil. A patrolman saw him struggling with a woman at the side of the road, and arrested him. He willingly confessed to the other three murders and eventually led the police to a toolbox containing pictures of the victims which he had taken. He was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin State Prison on September 18, 1959.


Parts of Glatman's career were fictionalized by Jack Webb in the 1966 TV movie Dragnet. The film convinced TV executives to relaunch Dragnet as a TV series in 1967 for a four-year run. Dragnet 1966, however, was not aired until 1969. It is notable for dialogue based on Glatman's own statements to police, including this:

Criminal: "The reason I killed those girls was 'cause they asked me to. (pause) They did; all of them."

Officer: "They asked you to?"

Criminal: "Sure. They said they'd rather be dead than be with me."

Capt. Pierce Brooks, LAPD, who helped trick Glatman into revealing where his toolbox was, served as a technical advisor for the film.

See also[edit]


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