Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers


By that hot July night in 1958, Harvey Glatman had raped and killed two females. He had come to enjoy it. But, now, since it had been seven months since his last crime, and the police so far had not shown up at his door, he resolved he was overdue for a little more fun. He was ready, boiling. Tonight he was going to take the life of another woman.

Having parked his clunker, the Dodge, halfway down her street, Pico Street, Harvey strolled the rest of the way to her door recalling his old, familiar line, the joe-photographer bit he had used on the others; the freelance photographer ruse that had worked so well. Knocking the elements of his masquerade together in his head, he practiced under his breath just what he was going to say when this Angela Rojas opened the door to let him in. Of course, half the battle was won already. He had done it by phone: had called up the agency she worked for, said he wanted a model to pose for some fashion layouts, and made arrangements to do the layout at her house. Of course, the agency and he both knew exactly what that meant to take nudie pictures. But, as long as he had the cash to pay and as long as there were whores like this Rojas willing to strip for some horny shutterbug until their real break came along here in Hollywood, no one asked questions. Credentials weren't needed. All that mattered was that everybody won: The chicks got paid; the agency got its percentage and the guy who forked over the dough walked away with pornographic freeze frames.

As before, he used a phony name, this time Frank Wilson. Hell, he had to! After all, the models he chose would never come back alive and he couldn't invite the LAPD to his door, now could he?

Inside the apartment, 24-year-old Ruth Mercado who used the pseudonym Angela Rojas whenever she took a modeling assignment peered out the window and saw Frank Wilson rounding her walkway. Yuck, she thought, what a loser! and knew exactly what kind of "layout" this dude would conjure up. Take off your clothes and look sexy! Smile now! Show me what ya' got!

Mercado had come from New York months previously to hit the big time here in West Hollywood, hoping she would get discovered but her dream of being the next Marilyn Monroe or Sandra Dee never materialized. With no aspirations for waiting tables or cashiering, Los Angeles of 1958 didn't offer much more for a girl who found such occupations too menial. Reduced to a "photographer's model," she at least was able to avoid the humdrum and still be able to pay the rent and eat thanks to the "photographers" who, like Wilson, couldn't get a real woman of their own.

As long as they never touched her she was no prostitute on that she was firm. But, as the agency told her when she first started accepting these assignments, Just pose and take the sucker's cash.

A knock at the door; she opened it, forced a smile at Frank Wilson, and asked him to step inside. Cripe, up close he was uglier than she thought. Large ears that stuck out like Dumbo's, ungroomed hair and a pair of squinty eyes behind thick horn-rimmed glasses.

"No camera?" she asked.

"'s in the car," he stammered.

"It does no good out there," she cracked, and purring in her most seductive voice the way these nerds loved it she added, "Wanna get it while I slip into something more comforta"

She was clipped. Her words gurgled off when he produced a pistol, shoving its barrel under her chin. Obviously, he was no photographer. Glancing down, she could see the stenciling on the weapon's chamber: Browning .32 Automatic

"Where's your bedroom?" he barked. "We're going there."

"" she whimpered, but he severed her voice again with another jab of the gun. "Answer me, bitch!"

Mutely, she motioned towards the direction of an unlit, slight hallway leading from her living room. He turned her, a puppet, and pushed her in that direction. "Go!" he ordered, and followed her, the gun barrel resting against her spine. As they entered the room together, he shoved her onto the bed. "Strip!" came one more command.

She obeyed. As she slipped out of her clothing, one article at a time, she watched his homely face begin to perspire in anticipation. His elephant ears flushed red. His puffy lips trembled in awe. She had always feared such a thing happening, allowing jug-heads into her place the way she had, but so far she'd been lucky they had snapped their cheesecakes and pranced away delighted. Not this time.

"Don't hurt me, mister, please, I..." she began again, but of course he overrode.

"The bra!"

She thought he was going to hyperventilate when she unstrapped it; no doubt this hayseed had not been with many women. Maybe, she thought, he would let her live if she played the role he wanted her to play. After all, he seemed to be not much more than a grown-up child peering at that new girly magazine, Playboy. With a smile, pretending to enjoy what she was doing, she dropped the last of her undergarments to the floor.

Naked now, she let his clammy hands caress her privates, and tried not to shudder, muchtheless puke, as his nauseating touch experienced her. She tightened, though, when she saw him reach beneath his jacket and withdraw a length of thin rope. And when he told her to turn around, and she felt him binding her wrists together, the shudder she had tried to resist surfaced.

"Don't be frightened," his voice crackled behind her. "I just want to make love to you."

She resisted the temptation to tell him that, yes, it's the only way any woman would dare let him touch her tied up! Instead, she locked her lips and inhaled deeply, silent, except when he pushed her across the bed again and sprawled across her, unzipped. Despite protestations, he had his way with her. After a few moments of pleading in vain, she surrendered and for the next hour she turned herself over to this grunting, heaving disaster.


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