Harvey Glatman

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 and The Glamour Girl Slayer. He would use several pseudonyms, posing as a professional photographer to lure his victims with the promise of a modeling career.

Harvey Glatman
Harvey Murray Glatman.jpeg
Glatman's 1958 mugshot
Harvey Murray Glatman

December 10, 1927
DiedSeptember 18, 1959(1959-09-18) (aged 31)
Cause of deathExecution by gas chamber
Other namesThe Lonely Hearts Killer
The Glamour Girl Slayer
Criminal statusExecuted
Conviction(s)First degree murder
Criminal penaltyDeath
Span of crimes
August 1, 1957  –  July 12, 1958
CountryUnited States
State(s)California, possibly Colorado
Date apprehended
October 31, 1958
Imprisoned atNew York State Reception Center in Almira, Sing Sing Correctional Facility and San Quentin State Prison

Early lifeEdit

Born in the Bronx to a Jewish family and raised in Colorado, Glatman exhibited antisocial behavior and sadomasochistic sexual tendencies from an early age. As a small child, he would tie a string around his penis and pull on it to achieve a sexual thrill; when he was 12 years old, he developed the habit of placing a rope around his neck, running it through the bathtub drain, and pulling it tight against his neck. His mother took him to the family physician, who said he "would grow out of it."[1]

As a teenager, he began breaking into women's apartments and stealing random items, including lingerie and, in one incident, a handgun. Over time, he escalated to stalking women and sexually assaulting them. He was arrested for and pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in November 1945, but ultimately served only one month in jail.[1]

In August 1945, Glatman was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman, and was sentenced to 5–10 years in Elmira Reformatory. Two years later, he was transferred to Sing Sing to serve out the rest of his sentence. During his imprisonment, he was diagnosed with "psychopathic personality - schizophrenic type having sexually perverted impulses as the basis of his criminality".[1] He was paroled in 1948.


Glatman moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1957 and started trolling 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.[2] He met his third victim, Shirley Ann Bridgeford, 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.[3] 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 the Jane Doe's DNA profile and that of a woman who thought the unidentified murder victim might be her long-lost sister.[4] The positive identification of "Boulder Jane Doe" was an 18-year-old woman from Phoenix, Arizona named Dorothy Gay Howard.[5][6]

Arrest and executionEdit

Glatman was arrested in 1958, caught in the act of kidnapping what would have been his fourth known murder victim, Lorraine Vigil.[7] A patrolman saw him struggling with a woman at the side of the road and arrested him.[8] He confessed to three murders and eventually led the police to a toolbox containing pictures he had taken of his victims.[9]

He was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He appeared to accept the sentence, even specifically asking the warden to do nothing to save his life. He was executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin State Prison on September 18, 1959.[9]


  • Parts of Glatman's career were fictionalized by Jack Webb in 1966 for the two-hour television movie Dragnet, starring his character Sgt. Joe Friday. The film convinced NBC executives to relaunch Dragnet as a TV series in 1967 for a four-year run, although the movie itself was not aired until 1969.[10] Some of the dialogue was reportedly drawn from Glatman's own statements to police, for example:
Suspect (played by Vic Perrin): "The reason I killed those girls was 'cause they asked me to. (pause) They did; all of them."
Sgt. Friday: "They asked you to?"
Suspect: "Sure. They said they'd rather be dead than be with me."

LAPD Captain Pierce Brooks, who was involved in Glatman's arrest and interrogation, served as a technical advisor for the film.[11]

  • Glatman was referenced by name in Episode 2, Season 2 of the Netflix series Mindhunter.
  • Glatman's killings are briefly described in James Ellroy's memoir My Dark Places. Glatman confesses to the three known murders, but is cleared of suspicion with regard to the 1958 murder of Ellroy's mother.[12]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "Harvey Glatman, "Glamour Girl Slayer"" (PDF). mammodt.asp.radford.edu. Radford, Virginia: Radford University. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
  2. ^ "Murderer Confesses". The Daily Chronicle. DeKalb, Illinois. November 1, 1958. p. 6.
  3. ^ "BOULDER JANE DOE (Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe)". Silvia Pettem. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  4. ^ "News & Media". Bouldercounty.org. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  5. ^ Anas, Brittany (October 28, 2009). "Mystery solved: Boulder sheriff IDs 'Jane Doe' as Dorothy Gay Howard". Boulder Daily Camera. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  6. ^ "Dorothy Gay "Dot" Howard (1936-1954) - Find A..." www.findagrave.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Killer retraces trail". San Diego Union-Tribune. November 1, 1958. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Birnes, William J.; Keppel, Robert D. (2008). Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781420066333.
  9. ^ a b "Sex Killer Dies in Gas Chamber". The Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1959. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  10. ^ Hayde, M.J. (2001). My Name's Friday: The Unauthorized But True Story of Dragnet and the Films of Jack Webb. Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House. pp. 178–9. ISBN 1581821905.
  11. ^ Hayde (2001), p. 177.
  12. ^ Ellroy, James (1997). My Dark Places: An L.A. Crime Memoir. New York City: Vintage Books. pp. 89–94. ISBN 0-679-76205-1. OCLC 37521832.

External linksEdit