55 years after the Boston Strangler murders first began, and despite decades of investigation, the search for answers continues. Although we may never know the truth about what happened to these women, we can draw some conclusions about the likely killers, and we can reach a new understanding about how crimes like this occur. In our final episode, Adele Roof, once nearly a victim herself, joins host Portland Helmich on a touching, thought-provoking journey back to Boston.
Episode 11: Digging Up the Past
Doubts and confusion about the identity of the Boston Strangler didn’t end with the death of lead suspect Albert DeSalvo. In fact, a small but determined group of family members and journalists continued to investigate the many unresolved questions surrounding the case--including the chilling possibility that some stranglers continued to live freely. In this episode, host Portland Helmich talks to Casey Sherman, nephew of victim Mary Sullivan (profiled in Episode 1) about his unlikely effort to exonerate DeSalvo. We learn about the existence of new forensic evidence, and about the strange, post-Strangler career of another major suspect: he moved to Michigan, and—perhaps coincidentally—a new series of murders began.
Episode 10: Fame and Consequences
Boston is gripped by fear once again after Albert DeSalvo escapes from Bridgewater State Hospital. But imprisonment never stops the man most people believed to be the Boston Strangler from communicating with—and attempting to manipulate—those outside. In this episode, we get an exclusive glimpse of DeSalvo’s extensive correspondence with his pursuer, Detective Phil DiNatale. DeSalvo never left prison again, but host Portland Helmich follows Phil DiNatale to Hollywood, where he became an official advisor and major character in the very successful 1968 film, The Boston Strangler. While the movie solidified many of the publicly accepted myths about the stranglings, DeSalvo’s mysterious death in prison only adds to the confusion surrounding the Strangler’s identity.
Episode 9: Testimony
Albert Desalvo said he committed all the Strangler murders, but he would never be tried for those crimes. Instead, he would stand trial for his crimes as the Green Man. DeSalvo’s wily lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, used DeSalvo’s violent history and his reputation as the Boston Strangler to assert that his client was not guilty by reason of legal insanity. In this episode, we’ll follow the prosecution and defense as they attempt to sway the jury, and we'll hear chilling trial excerpts. We’ll also learn how one popular '50s television sitcom may have given Albert DeSalvo the rationale he needed to invade the homes of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of women.
Episode 8: Confessions
In 1965, a series of swift maneuvers by Albert DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey, blocked investigators from closing in on their prime Strangler suspect. DeSalvo was more than ready to talk: he had given investigators nearly 60 hours of recorded confessions. But before fully understanding the crimes DeSalvo had committed, the State of Massachusetts agreed that DeSalvo’s testimony about the murders couldn’t be used against him in court. Bailey leads host Portland Helmich through his legal maneuvers as he battles to keep DeSalvo out of the electric chair. We also hear chilling details about the Strangler murders in excerpts from DeSalvo’s recorded confessions. Despite DeSalvo’s astonishing recall of the 13 stranglings, he gets the most important detail wrong. Could he in fact be lying?