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Stranglers

Witness Docs

323
Followers
1.6K
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Stranglers

Stranglers

Witness Docs

323
Followers
1.6K
Plays
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About Us

From June, 1962 through January, 1964, women in the city of Boston lived in fear of the infamous Strangler. Over those 19 months, he committed 13 known murders-crimes that included vicious sexual assaults and bizarre stagings of the victims' bodies. After the largest police investigation in Massachusetts history, handyman Albert DeSalvo confessed and went to prison. Despite DeSalvo's full confession and imprisonment, authorities would never put him on trial for the actual murders. And more than 50 years later, significant doubts continue to surround the case. Was DeSalvo really the killer? Was there more than one Strangler? And did the Boston PD and the FBI do everything necessary to find and stop the murderer? Stranglers, an original 12-part weekly documentary podcast from Stitcher and Northern Light Productions, is a fascinating, contemporary audio investigation of the Boston Strangler story. Using never-before-heard voices, interviews with actual suspects, extensive original research and new conversations with the victims' family members, host Portland Helmich will introduce you to every facet of the case, from the reporters who originally covered it to the police who worked furiously to solve it, as well as terrified witnesses who claim to have met the Strangler himself.

Latest Episodes

​Introducing Unfinished: Deep South

EUnfinished: Deep South is a new historical true crime podcast produced by Witness Docs that races to resolve the unfinished business of a small Arkansas town by starting with one question: who lynched Isadore Banks? Sixty-six years after the murder a wealthy African American farmer and WWI veteran who found a way to prosper in the Jim Crow South, this investigative series attempts to restore his legacy and solve the crime before the story goes cold forever. Season 1 of Unfinished is out NOW — listen and subscribe wherever you find your podcasts. If you want to listen to the full season of Unfinished: Deep South now, without ads, sign up for Stitcher Premium at stitcherpremium.com. Use promo code WITNESS for 1 month free. Subscribe to Unfinished: Deep South in Stitcher or wherever you listen: isadorebanks.com.

3 MINJUN 29
Comments
​Introducing Unfinished: Deep South

Episode 12: Memorial

E55 years after the Boston Strangler murders first began, and despite decades of investigation, the search for answers continues. Although we may never know the truth about what happened to these women, we can draw some conclusions about the likely killers, and we can reach a new understanding about how crimes like this occur. In our final episode, Adele Roof, once nearly a victim herself, joins host Portland Helmich on a touching, thought-provoking journey back to Boston.

51 MIN2017 FEB 15
Comments
Episode 12: Memorial

Episode 11: Digging Up the Past

EDoubts and confusion about the identity of the Boston Strangler didn’t end with the death of lead suspect Albert DeSalvo. In fact, a small but determined group of family members and journalists continued to investigate the many unresolved questions surrounding the case--including the chilling possibility that some stranglers continued to live freely. In this episode, host Portland Helmich talks to Casey Sherman, nephew of victim Mary Sullivan (profiled in Episode 1) about his unlikely effort to exonerate DeSalvo. We learn about the existence of new forensic evidence, and about the strange, post-Strangler career of another major suspect: he moved to Michigan, and—perhaps coincidentally—a new series of murders began.

51 MIN2017 FEB 8
Comments
Episode 11: Digging Up the Past

Episode 10: Fame and Consequences

EBoston is gripped by fear once again after Albert DeSalvo escapes from Bridgewater State Hospital. But imprisonment never stops the man most people believed to be the Boston Strangler from communicating with—and attempting to manipulate—those outside. In this episode, we get an exclusive glimpse of DeSalvo’s extensive correspondence with his pursuer, Detective Phil DiNatale. DeSalvo never left prison again, but host Portland Helmich follows Phil DiNatale to Hollywood, where he became an official advisor and major character in the very successful 1968 film, The Boston Strangler. While the movie solidified many of the publicly accepted myths about the stranglings, DeSalvo’s mysterious death in prison only adds to the confusion surrounding the Strangler’s identity.

43 MIN2017 FEB 1
Comments
Episode 10: Fame and Consequences

Episode 9: Testimony

EAlbert Desalvo said he committed all the Strangler murders, but hewould never betried for those crimes. Instead,he would stand trial for his crimes as the Green Man.DeSalvo’s wily lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, used DeSalvo’s violent historyand his reputation as the Boston Strangler toassert that his client wasnot guilty by reason of legal insanity.In this episode, we’ll followtheprosecution and defense as they attempt to sway the jury, andwe'llhear chilling trial excerpts. We’ll also learn how one popular '50stelevisionsitcom may have given Albert DeSalvo the rationale he needed to invade the homes of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of women.

49 MIN2017 JAN 25
Comments
Episode 9: Testimony

Episode 8: Confessions

EIn 1965, a series of swift maneuvers by Albert DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey, blocked investigators from closing in on their prime Strangler suspect. DeSalvo was more than ready to talk: he had given investigators nearly 60 hours of recorded confessions. But before fully understanding the crimes DeSalvo had committed, the State of Massachusetts agreed that DeSalvo’s testimony about the murders couldn’t be used against him in court. Bailey leads host Portland Helmich through his legal maneuvers as he battles to keep DeSalvo out of the electric chair. We also hear chilling details about the Strangler murders in excerpts from DeSalvo’s recorded confessions. Despite DeSalvo’s astonishing recall of the 13 stranglings, he gets the most important detail wrong. Could he in fact be lying?

49 MIN2017 JAN 18
Comments
Episode 8: Confessions

Episode 7: Bridgewater

EBy November, 1964, detective Phil DiNatale was closing in on a prime suspect, Albert DeSalvo, who had a long record of sexual assaults. DeSalvo was already in custody, in fact, at Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he was undergoing psychiatric evaluation. But while the police were gathering evidence, DeSalvo was confessing to a fellow inmate, George Nassar, that HE was the Boston Strangler. In this episode, host Portland Helmich visits George Nassar in prison to learn more about DeSalvo’s confession. She also meets DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey, who rose to prominence in his defense of DeSalvo, and who changed the course of the Boston Strangler investigation by getting to Bridgewater and DeSalvo one day ahead of the police.

43 MIN2017 JAN 11
Comments
Episode 7: Bridgewater

Mid-Season Preview

EWith 2016 behind us, we want to take a quick minute to thank you all for supporting this podcast. The Atlantic listed us at #7 in their top 50 podcasts of 2016, and we were first in GQ Magazine’s list of the 7 best new podcasts to check out. We’re very proud of the recognition and very grateful to all of you for listening, for subscribing, for telling your friends about Stranglers, and for all your comments online (even the criticisms...we read those too!). On behalf of the Stranglers production team, I want to wish you all a very happy new year & let you know that next week, Stranglers returns with the 2nd half of our season. Another week might feel like a long time to wait, so give a listen to this sneak peek of what’s in store…

4 MIN2017 JAN 4
Comments
Mid-Season Preview

Episode 6: Measuring Man

EIn 1963 and 1964, several more Strangler murders drive the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts to take extraordinary measures. Attorney General Edward Brooke creates a special task force to coordinate police work across the state, but the killer continues to elude his pursuers. Desperate, the police even fly in a psychic. One dogged investigator, detective Phil DiNatale, finds a clue that he believes will lead him to the Strangler. His lead: the mysterious “measuring man,” who approaches women at home and attempts to convince them they have a future in modeling. Host Portland Helmich meets Carole, who reveals the chilling details of her encounters with the “measuring man.” Detective DiNatale, sensing he might have found the killer, gets down to the hard work of gumshoe policing in order to prove his case.

42 MIN2016 DEC 21
Comments
Episode 6: Measuring Man

Episode 5: Gotham Strangler

ETwo more murders in Boston bring the total to 7. The Strangler continues to elude investigators through the winter and spring of 1963. Then, in June, New York police find the body of sixty-two-year-old Zenovia Clegg in a Times Square hotel. She had been strangled, using a scarf tied in the Strangler’s signature bow. The NYPD quickly catches Clegg’s killer, a drifter from Maine named Charles Terry, and one legendary detective there, Tom Cavanagh, begins to suspect that he has arrested the real Boston Strangler. But the Boston PD doesn't seem to care. Host Portland Helmich traces Cavanagh’s life-long pursuit of evidence supporting his theory, and reveals the surprising details of Charles Terry’s life that seem to confirm his guilt.

41 MIN2016 DEC 14
Comments
Episode 5: Gotham Strangler

Latest Episodes

​Introducing Unfinished: Deep South

EUnfinished: Deep South is a new historical true crime podcast produced by Witness Docs that races to resolve the unfinished business of a small Arkansas town by starting with one question: who lynched Isadore Banks? Sixty-six years after the murder a wealthy African American farmer and WWI veteran who found a way to prosper in the Jim Crow South, this investigative series attempts to restore his legacy and solve the crime before the story goes cold forever. Season 1 of Unfinished is out NOW — listen and subscribe wherever you find your podcasts. If you want to listen to the full season of Unfinished: Deep South now, without ads, sign up for Stitcher Premium at stitcherpremium.com. Use promo code WITNESS for 1 month free. Subscribe to Unfinished: Deep South in Stitcher or wherever you listen: isadorebanks.com.

3 MINJUN 29
Comments
​Introducing Unfinished: Deep South

Episode 12: Memorial

E55 years after the Boston Strangler murders first began, and despite decades of investigation, the search for answers continues. Although we may never know the truth about what happened to these women, we can draw some conclusions about the likely killers, and we can reach a new understanding about how crimes like this occur. In our final episode, Adele Roof, once nearly a victim herself, joins host Portland Helmich on a touching, thought-provoking journey back to Boston.

51 MIN2017 FEB 15
Comments
Episode 12: Memorial

Episode 11: Digging Up the Past

EDoubts and confusion about the identity of the Boston Strangler didn’t end with the death of lead suspect Albert DeSalvo. In fact, a small but determined group of family members and journalists continued to investigate the many unresolved questions surrounding the case--including the chilling possibility that some stranglers continued to live freely. In this episode, host Portland Helmich talks to Casey Sherman, nephew of victim Mary Sullivan (profiled in Episode 1) about his unlikely effort to exonerate DeSalvo. We learn about the existence of new forensic evidence, and about the strange, post-Strangler career of another major suspect: he moved to Michigan, and—perhaps coincidentally—a new series of murders began.

51 MIN2017 FEB 8
Comments
Episode 11: Digging Up the Past

Episode 10: Fame and Consequences

EBoston is gripped by fear once again after Albert DeSalvo escapes from Bridgewater State Hospital. But imprisonment never stops the man most people believed to be the Boston Strangler from communicating with—and attempting to manipulate—those outside. In this episode, we get an exclusive glimpse of DeSalvo’s extensive correspondence with his pursuer, Detective Phil DiNatale. DeSalvo never left prison again, but host Portland Helmich follows Phil DiNatale to Hollywood, where he became an official advisor and major character in the very successful 1968 film, The Boston Strangler. While the movie solidified many of the publicly accepted myths about the stranglings, DeSalvo’s mysterious death in prison only adds to the confusion surrounding the Strangler’s identity.

43 MIN2017 FEB 1
Comments
Episode 10: Fame and Consequences

Episode 9: Testimony

EAlbert Desalvo said he committed all the Strangler murders, but hewould never betried for those crimes. Instead,he would stand trial for his crimes as the Green Man.DeSalvo’s wily lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, used DeSalvo’s violent historyand his reputation as the Boston Strangler toassert that his client wasnot guilty by reason of legal insanity.In this episode, we’ll followtheprosecution and defense as they attempt to sway the jury, andwe'llhear chilling trial excerpts. We’ll also learn how one popular '50stelevisionsitcom may have given Albert DeSalvo the rationale he needed to invade the homes of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of women.

49 MIN2017 JAN 25
Comments
Episode 9: Testimony

Episode 8: Confessions

EIn 1965, a series of swift maneuvers by Albert DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey, blocked investigators from closing in on their prime Strangler suspect. DeSalvo was more than ready to talk: he had given investigators nearly 60 hours of recorded confessions. But before fully understanding the crimes DeSalvo had committed, the State of Massachusetts agreed that DeSalvo’s testimony about the murders couldn’t be used against him in court. Bailey leads host Portland Helmich through his legal maneuvers as he battles to keep DeSalvo out of the electric chair. We also hear chilling details about the Strangler murders in excerpts from DeSalvo’s recorded confessions. Despite DeSalvo’s astonishing recall of the 13 stranglings, he gets the most important detail wrong. Could he in fact be lying?

49 MIN2017 JAN 18
Comments
Episode 8: Confessions

Episode 7: Bridgewater

EBy November, 1964, detective Phil DiNatale was closing in on a prime suspect, Albert DeSalvo, who had a long record of sexual assaults. DeSalvo was already in custody, in fact, at Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he was undergoing psychiatric evaluation. But while the police were gathering evidence, DeSalvo was confessing to a fellow inmate, George Nassar, that HE was the Boston Strangler. In this episode, host Portland Helmich visits George Nassar in prison to learn more about DeSalvo’s confession. She also meets DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey, who rose to prominence in his defense of DeSalvo, and who changed the course of the Boston Strangler investigation by getting to Bridgewater and DeSalvo one day ahead of the police.

43 MIN2017 JAN 11
Comments
Episode 7: Bridgewater

Mid-Season Preview

EWith 2016 behind us, we want to take a quick minute to thank you all for supporting this podcast. The Atlantic listed us at #7 in their top 50 podcasts of 2016, and we were first in GQ Magazine’s list of the 7 best new podcasts to check out. We’re very proud of the recognition and very grateful to all of you for listening, for subscribing, for telling your friends about Stranglers, and for all your comments online (even the criticisms...we read those too!). On behalf of the Stranglers production team, I want to wish you all a very happy new year & let you know that next week, Stranglers returns with the 2nd half of our season. Another week might feel like a long time to wait, so give a listen to this sneak peek of what’s in store…

4 MIN2017 JAN 4
Comments
Mid-Season Preview

Episode 6: Measuring Man

EIn 1963 and 1964, several more Strangler murders drive the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts to take extraordinary measures. Attorney General Edward Brooke creates a special task force to coordinate police work across the state, but the killer continues to elude his pursuers. Desperate, the police even fly in a psychic. One dogged investigator, detective Phil DiNatale, finds a clue that he believes will lead him to the Strangler. His lead: the mysterious “measuring man,” who approaches women at home and attempts to convince them they have a future in modeling. Host Portland Helmich meets Carole, who reveals the chilling details of her encounters with the “measuring man.” Detective DiNatale, sensing he might have found the killer, gets down to the hard work of gumshoe policing in order to prove his case.

42 MIN2016 DEC 21
Comments
Episode 6: Measuring Man

Episode 5: Gotham Strangler

ETwo more murders in Boston bring the total to 7. The Strangler continues to elude investigators through the winter and spring of 1963. Then, in June, New York police find the body of sixty-two-year-old Zenovia Clegg in a Times Square hotel. She had been strangled, using a scarf tied in the Strangler’s signature bow. The NYPD quickly catches Clegg’s killer, a drifter from Maine named Charles Terry, and one legendary detective there, Tom Cavanagh, begins to suspect that he has arrested the real Boston Strangler. But the Boston PD doesn't seem to care. Host Portland Helmich traces Cavanagh’s life-long pursuit of evidence supporting his theory, and reveals the surprising details of Charles Terry’s life that seem to confirm his guilt.

41 MIN2016 DEC 14
Comments
Episode 5: Gotham Strangler
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