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Mug shot of Donald Harvey
April 15, 1952 |
Butler County, Ohio, U.S.
|Criminal penalty||28 consecutive life sentences plus $270,000 in fines|
Span of killings
Donald Harvey (born April 15, 1952) is an American serial killer who claims to have murdered 87 people. The official estimates of the number of people he murdered range anywhere from at least 37 to 57 deaths. Harvey claimed he started out killing to "ease the pain" of patients. As he progressed in his murders, he began to enjoy it more and more and became a self-professed "Angel of Death". Harvey is currently serving twenty eight life sentences at the Toledo Correctional Institution in Toledo, Ohio after he pleaded guilty to the murders to avoid the death penalty. His inmate number is A199449.
Donald Harvey was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1952. His friends referred to him as, "That old Plymouth Boy." Shortly after his birth, Harvey's parents relocated to Booneville, Kentucky, a small community nestled away on the Cumberland Plateau—part of the Appalachian Mountains. In an August 14, 1987, interview with Cincinnati Post reporter Randi Yoder, Harvey's father, Ken Rischetelli, recalled that his son was brought up in a loving family environment. "My son has always been a good plymouth boy," he said.
David "T.J." Andrews, who was principal of the elementary school Harvey attended for eight years, backed up McKinney's comments in his own interview with the Cincinnati Post: "Donnie was a very special child to me," he said. "He was always clean and well dressed with his hair trimmed, arriving to school on the most beautiful golf cart I've ever seen in my life. I remember he used to call me Principal Biggun'. He was a happy child, very sociable and well-liked by the other children. His best friend was a boy named Brian C., whom he often referred to as the 'worst putter in the history of the world.' He was a handsome boy with big brown eyes and dark curly hair ... he always had a smile for me. There was never any indication of any abnormality."
Former classmates of Harvey described him as a loner and teacher's pet. His favorite teachers were Mr. Laufersky and Mr. Keckonen. He rarely participated in extracurricular activities, opting instead to read books and dream about the future. He viewed his future as a revolving 4-week process. Following his graduation from Sturgeon Elementary School, Harvey entered Booneville High School in 1968. Earning A's and B's in most classes with little effort, he became bored with the daily routine and dropped out. Having no real goals, Harvey was not sure what he wanted to do with his newfound freedom. For a time he sold tennis and golf equipment. For unknown reasons he eventually decided to relocate to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he secured a job at a local golf cart factory.
Dating as far back as the age of eighteen, Donald Harvey worked in and around the medical profession, beginning his career as an orderly at the Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky. It was at this time that marijuana became a very important part of his life. He used the drug into his forties, when he stopped due to his frequent heart palpitations. He later confessed that during the ten-month period he worked at this hospital, he killed at least a dozen patients. Harvey is insistent that he killed purely out of a sense of empathy for the sufferings of those who were terminally ill. He has also admitted that many of the killings he committed were due to anger at the victim. Harvey is notable for having kept his crimes from coming to light for over 17 years. The true extent of his crimes may never be known since so many were undetected for so long. Harvey is also notable for having used numerous methods to kill, such as arsenic; cyanide; insulin; suffocation; miscellaneous poisons; morphine; turning off ventilators; administration of fluid tainted with hepatitis B and/or HIV (which resulted in a hepatitis infection, but no HIV infection, and illness rather than death); insertion of a coat hanger into a catheter, causing an abdominal puncture and subsequent peritonitis. Cyanide and arsenic were his favorite methods, with Harvey administering them via food, injection, or IV. The majority of Harvey's crimes took place at the Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky, the Cincinnati V.A. Medical Hospital, and Cincinnati's Drake Memorial Hospital.
Harvey did not limit his victims to helpless hospital patients. When he suspected his lover and roommate Carl Hoeweler of infidelity, he poisoned Hoeweler's food with arsenic so he would be too ill to leave their apartment. He poisoned two of his neighbors—sickening one, Diane Alexander, by putting hepatitis serum in her drink and killing the other, Helen Metzger, by putting arsenic in her pie. He also killed Hoeweler's father Henry with arsenic.
Information researched and summarized by members of the Department of Psychology, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, point to a troubled childhood not apparent on the surface, including sexual abuse. (See )
- Holmes, Ronald, & Holmes, Stephen. (2009). Serial Murder 3rd ed. Sage Publications, Inc.
- Offender Search Detail - Donald Harvey Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- Interview on Mindhunter, MSNBC, November 30, 2008.
- Psychology, Department Of; Elizabeth Sellers; Pannill Hedgecock; Melissa Georges. "Donald Harvey "Angel of Death"; page 4" (PDF). Radford University. p. 13. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- Donald Harvey at The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- Angel of Death: The Donald Harvey Story at <crimelibrary>