The Vicious Photographer Who Made Beautiful Women His Victim
Harvey Glatman turned Hollywood dreams into hell for many women seeking fame and fortune.
On the surface, Glatman was a Hollywood photographer who gave out of work actresses the opportunity to earn money modelling. His particular brand of photography was to provide photoshoots for criminal magazines. The models were asked to pose tied up, look scared and act like a victim. Little did they know that the acting would turn into real life after the flash went off on the camera.
The Rise of a Sadist
Harvey Murray Glatman was born to a Jewish family on 10th December 1927. He was born in the Bronx. Glatman's father was a milliner who had a small shop. As a child, Glatman was said to have mood swings and violent outbursts, which his father would punish him for.
He was always considered abnormal amongst his peers, but this would escalate when his mother discovered him indulging in sadistic self-pleasure. Glatman had hung himself whilst masturbating; he was eleven years old. A psychiatrist at the time told the family that he would grow out of this behaviour.
His family moved to Colorado. Glatman, with his thin frame and buck teeth, was a target for bullies who taunted him relentlessly. They nicknamed him weasel. This abuse led to him being nervous around girls, impacting his later life.
Glatman's first crimes were simple breaking and entering. These soon escalated when he started breaking into women's homes, tying them up and taking photos of them. Although he never touched them, sometimes he would force them to lie in bed with him at gunpoint.
In May 1945, he broke into a house with a gun and rope. He was arrested and confessed to breaking and entering. While waiting for his trial date, he abducted Norene Laurel and assaulted her. He was sentenced to a year in the Colorado State Prison.
On his release, his parents were informed his behaviour was due to his fear of women. To cure this, they enrolled him in dance classes.
In 1957, Glatman found himself in Hollywood posing as a photographer. Beautiful women would move to Hollywood hoping for a career in acting. The aspiring actresses thought nothing of posing for photos for pulp crime magazines. Models were hired; Glatman would tie them up and ask them to look terrified while photographing them. For a while, this satisfied his urges.
On 1st August 1957, he hired young model Judy Dull for this type of photoshoot. She went into the shoot quite willingly; she didn't object when the photographer asked to tie her up and demanded she looked frightened. However, afterwards, he produced a gun and sexually assaulted her. This was Glatman's first sexual experience, as he had been a virgin before this.
He quickly realised that he needed to silence his victim as he did not want to return to prison. She was already tied up, so he took her to the dessert and strangled her. When she did not return, her roommate reported her missing.
Judy was in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle with her husband. When she disappeared, LAPD made him their prime suspect. However, the police found no evidence and quickly ruled him out of their enquiries. The case was then closed; Judy was considered just one more woman who had run away from her troubles.
Picking the wrong woman
In October 1958, Lorraine Vigil went on her first modelling job. Glatman picked her up for the shoot. The first thing that Lorraine found odd was Glatman's reluctance to speak to her. When he refused to answer any of her questions, she knew something was wrong. At this point, Glatman pulled out a gun and demanded that she comply with him.
Lorraine had two options to fight or die; she chose the first. She grabbed the gun from Glatman; a struggle started, during this, a bullet grazed her leg, but she would not let go. She opened the door and both of them fell out; she then bit down on his wrist until he dropped the gun. Then, turning the weapon onto her attacker, she held him by the roadside. Luckily at this point, a highway patrol drove past and stopped. They quickly realised what was happening and started searching the car.
After this initial search, the police realised who the attacker was and obtained a search warrant for his apartment. In the apartment, they discovered a toolbox, which contained some gruesome photos, including one of the missing model Judy Dull and several other missing women.
Glatman was questioned for several days until he admitted the murders. Then, he took the police to his killing ground, where he had first taken Judy. The police found bodies raped, tied up and strangled. Many of these women had their last moments captured on camera, as Glatman would continue to take pictures of them.
He was the first serial killer who took pictures of his victims and kept them in his fantasy. Ian Brady, seven years later, would take photos of Myra Hindley near the burial sites of victims but never with them.
Trial and Execution
In December 1958, Glatman, nicknamed the Glamour Girl Slayer, went to court. He pleaded guilty to three murders, Judith Dull, Shirley Ann Bridgeford and Ruth Mercado. He stated he wanted the fastest route possible to execution. In September 1959, he was placed in the gas chamber at San Quentin Prison and executed.
FBI profiler, Roy Hazelwood, stated that Glatman was a typical sexual sadist. He started off masturbating over pictures of terrified women. However, soon this was not enough to satisfy him when he escalated to murder.
Hollywood provided the ideal backdrop to his crimes and an endless supply of beautiful women looking to make it big, by whatever means they could. The transient style of those looking for work meant that few were missed.
Would Glatman have become the notorious killer he was, had his early sexual deviance been appropriately addressed? One thing is sure, though, if it had not been for the bravery of Lorraine Vigil, he might never have been caught.
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