The case of the Boston Strangler has baffled authorities for 50 years and is now the subject of a new film starring Keira Knightley.
Hulu’s true crime drama, simply titled Boston strangler, Knightley sees Loretta McLaughlin, the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. With the help of his colleague Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), McLaughlin began investigating the tragic deaths that were happening across the city to uncover the truth.
The true identity of the Boston Strangler is a topic that has been of interest for decades. Here’s everything we know.
Between 1962 and 1964, the Boston Strangler raped and killed eleven women across the city. The serial killer’s victims ranged in age from 19 to 85. His last known victim was Mary Sullivan, who was killed in January 1964.
The Boston Strangler sexually assaulted and then murdered its victims. He was known by the nickname because he would kill his victims and then leave the rope or twine he had used tied in a loop.
At that time, the police had trouble identifying the perpetrator. In the end, it was a confession by Albert DeSalvo in prison that brought her to his attention.
DeSalvo was arrested by police after he raped a woman on October 27, 1964. After the attack, the woman was able to positively identify him to authorities, which led to his arrest.
Per Story, DeSalvo confessed to the murders while speaking to his cellmate, George Nasser, who in turn told his attorney, F. Lee Bailey. The attorney took DeSalvo on as a client and made a deal with prosecutors that meant he would not be charged or convicted in the Boston Strangler murders. DeSalvo later recanted his confession to the murders.
DeSalvo was instead sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting multiple women over a two-year period. On November 26, 1973, he was found dead in his cell after being stabbed to death at Walpole State Prison.
The fact that DeSalvo was never convicted of the Boston Strangler murders led some to believe that he was not the one responsible. However, in 2013, DNA evidence was used to prove with a 99.9 percent certainty that DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler, according to an ABC News report.
Police used a water bottle discarded by DeSalvo’s nephew, Tim DeSalvo, to obtain the DNA evidence they needed to compare with samples preserved from Sullivan’s murder, the media outlet reported.
At the time, Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said: “This is good evidence. This is strong evidence. This is reliable evidence. But there can be no doubt.”
According to a US Department of Justice report, Boston authorities exhumed DeSalvo’s body in July 2013 and compared his DNA to evidence remaining from the Sullivan case.
A match was found and DeSalvo was positively identified as the person who raped and killed Sullivan.
Boston strangler is now available to watch on Hulu.