Born in the Bronx on December 10, 1927, Glatman's parents Albert and Ophelia had a distinct feeling that something wasn't right with their son, who exhibited strange emotional behavior. One day, while Glatman was three, Ophelia found him committing a crude form of sadomasochism. However, when taken to a family physician, she was told that it was a phase and Glatman will "grow out of it", leading to her and Albert to dismiss future occurrences. At age twelve, children made fun of Glatman because of his odd physicality, and he also developed a fear of girls. He also began committing several robberies at the private homes of women, taking anything he could find. Eventually, Glatman escalated, sexually assaulting the women residing in the homes he burglarized. Finally, Albert and Ophelia couldn't put a blind eye onto their son's sadomasochistic activities and sent him to a psychiatrist, all the while unaware of the string of robberies and sexual assaults he was committing. On May 18, 1945, Glatman broke into the apartment of one Elma Hamum, a length of rope and a .25-caliber pistol in his possession. He was caught in the act and arrested; he consequently confessed to his robberies but left out those involving the sexual assaults upon his victims. Glatman was charged with first-degree robbery and his parents posted bail. The following month, he abducted Noreen Laurel and touched her before returning her home, but Laurel immediately notified the authorities and he was arrested again. This time, his parents were unable to post bail. During his incarceration, prison psychiatrists diagnosed Glatman as a schizophrenic (or, at the time, having a split-personality disorder) or having psychoneurosis. He was eventually released in late November.
Crimes, Capture, and Execution
During August of 1946, Glatman began a series of attacks. First, he attacked Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn, robbing Staro and molesting Thorn, keeping them both compliant with a cap gun that they believed was an actual firearm. Going to Albany, he attempted to sexually assault a nurse, Florence Hayden, but she escaped. Glatman then tried to attack Evelyn Berge and Beverly Goldsten, but they also escaped and alerted the police, who threw Glatman back into prison. Sentenced to five to ten years for assaulting Hayden, he was diagnosed as a psychopath. Nevertheless, he proved to be a model prisoner with a high IQ and was paroled in 1951. It was during this time that Albert Glatman died from diabetes. Harvey then moved to Los Angeles and got a job as a TV repairman. He also posed as a photographer and convinced women to pose for him in "bondage situations". One day, on August 1957, Glatman snapped and called in Judith Dull, a 19-year-old divorcee who was desperate to pay money for a lawyer in a child custody battle with her ex-husband, telling her that he'll pay money if she poses for him. Dull agreed and hung up, but not before Glatman told her to "wear a tight skirt and sweater". Dull obliged, and when she arrived, he tied her up, telling her it was part of the shoot, and took photos of her. Glatman then pulled out a .32 Browning automatic, ordered her to strip down, took more photos of her, then raped her. Afterwards, he drove her past Thousand Palms, strangled her to death, and then took several more photos of her corpse before abandoning it in the desert.
On March 1958, Glatman encountered Shirley Bridgeford at the Patty Sullivan Lonely Hearts Club, using the alias of George Williams. The two decided to eat together and Harvey drove her to Oceanside for dinner. He then drove her to Vallecito Mountains, where he aimed his .32 at her heart, ordered her to undress, and raped and took photos of her. Shortly afterward, Glatman murdered her and repeated what he did to Judith Dull post-mortem: take pictures of the body before leaving. Four months later, he claimed his third victim, Ruth Mercado, using the alias of Frank Wilson as means of covering his tracks, repeating the ritual he initiated with Dull and Bridgeford. He was finally caught on July, a month after his murder of Mercado. During that time, he became a photographer for the Diane Studio, a modeling agency. He intended to kill the agency's owner, who herself was a model who posed for some of the shoots, but the woman was disturbed by Glatman upon meeting him and instead signed him up to take photos of another of the agency's models, Lorraine Vigil, who was new. Harvey decided to take the job and abducted Lorraine. However, she fought back and escaped, eventually running into two policemen that arrested Glatman.
Police detectives interrogated Glatman, and he eventually caved in, confessing to killing his victims and telling them about "the toolbox", a container that held the photos he took of Dull, Bridgeford, and Mercado before, during, and after their murders. Authorities found the toolbox at Glatman's apartment with the intention of using the photos as evidence against him during court. His victims' bodies were also discovered. During his trial, Ophelia, then 69 years old, apologized for her son's actions and described him as "sick". Glatman's lawyer, Willard Whittinghill, decided to present his client as being mentally ill. However, the psychiatric examination concluded that Glatman wasn't suffering from psychosis and that he was fully responsible for his actions. He was tried for the murders of Mercado and Bridgeford, the testimonies provided from Bridgeford's family proving to be most effective in the trial. He was shortly found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and he was given the the death penalty. Glatman was transferred to the San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California, coincidentally the same prison that would house Charles Manson and Richard Ramirez. He was scheduled to be executed in the prison's "green room", a gas chamber using lethal cyanide, at 10 a.m. The procedure began at September 18, 1959, and it took twelve minutes for Glatman to succumb to the cyanide's toxicity.
Glatman targeted beautiful Caucasian women aged in their late teens to mid-twenties, whom he would lure in by pretending to be a photographer who promised to take photos of them. One of his ruses was that he was taking pictures for pulp fiction magazines, which gave him an excuse to tie them up. After taking a few pictures of them, he would hold them at gunpoint with a .32 Browning automatic, order them to undress, and then continue taking pictures. Glatman would then rape them and then take them out into the desert afterwards, killing them by strangling them to death with a rope. When his victims were dead, Glatman would find closure by taking more photos of the corpses (and in the case of his first victim, Judith Ann Dull, bury her body in a shallow grave) before leaving.
- New York City, New York:
- Unspecified dates from 1939 to 1944: Sexually assaulted and/or robbed numerous unnamed women
- May 18: Elma Hamum (attempted to rob and rape)
- June 18: Noreen Laurel (abducted and molested; was released)
- Unspecified dates in 1946, New York:
- New York City: Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn
- Thomas Staro (robbed only)
- Doris Thorn (molested only)
- Florence Hayden (attempted to sexually assault; she escaped)
- Evelyn Berge and Beverly Goldsten (attempted to sexually assault both; they escaped)
- New York City: Thomas Staro and Doris Thorn
- Unspecified date in 1954, Boulder, Colorado: Dorothy Gay Howard, 18 (possibly; hit by a car)
- Los Angeles, California:
- August 1, 1957: Judith Ann Dull, 19
- March 8: Shirley Ann Bridgeford, 24
- June 23: Ruth Rita Mercado, 24
- Diane (intended)
- Lorraine Vigil (abducted and intended to kill; she escaped)
- Glatman isn't the only killer to possess the nickname of The Lonely Hearts Killer. Serial killer Harry Powers, "black widow"-type serial killer Nannie Doss, and killer couple Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck also hold the same nickname.
- Glatman has been quoted as saying, regarding his crimes "The reason I killed those girls was 'cause they asked me to ...They did; all of them. [...] They said they'd rather be dead than be with me". This is actually part of a dialogue in the police procedural movie Dragnet 1966, which served as the [unaired] pilot to the series Dragnet 1967. The movie was based on Glatman's crimes and suposedly featured actual extracts from his interrogation by LAPD officers, but the serial killer depicted was fictional. LAPD Captain Pierce Brooks, who was involved in Glatman's arrest and interrogation, served as a technical advisor for the film.
On Criminal Minds
While Glatman has yet to be directly mentioned or referenced on the show, he appears to have been an inspiration for Eric Olson ("Zoe's Reprise") - Both were serial killers who took photos of several of their murder sites and hung them on their walls.
- Wikipedia's article about Glatman
- TruTV Crime Library articles about Glatman
- Murderpedia's article about Glatman
- SK Central's article about Glatman
- Summary about Glatman's life by Radford University's Department of Psychology
- Robert Keller's blog article on Glatman
- The Crime Web timeline articles that mention Glatman: