DNA Clinches It: Confessed Boston Strangler Killed Woman

Test confirms Albert DeSalvo murdered last victim

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 19, 2013 11:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's official. DNA tests confirm that the man who once claimed to be the Boston Strangler did indeed kill the woman believed to be the serial killer's last victim, authorities said today. (They were nearly certain last week, but today's results provide the final confirmation.) Albert DeSalvo admitted to killing Mary Sullivan and 10 other women in the Boston area between 1962 and 1964 but later recanted. He was later killed in prison.

The DNA finding "leaves no doubt that Albert DeSalvo was responsible for the brutal murder of Mary Sullivan" and it was "most likely" that he also was the Boston Strangler, said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Authorities said recently that new technology allowed them to test semen left at the crime scene of Sullivan's death using DNA from a living relative of DeSalvo's. To confirm the match, investigators unearthed his remains a week ago and said today that the odds of the semen belonging to anyone but DeSalvo were 1 in 220 billion. "It's a great day," says Sullivan's nephew. "This is now full justice for my aunt."

In this 2000 photo, Diane Dodd, left, and son Casey Sherman hold a photo in Rockland, Mass., of Dodd's sister Mary Sullivan.
In this 2000 photo, Diane Dodd, left, and son Casey Sherman hold a photo in Rockland, Mass., of Dodd's sister Mary Sullivan.   (Greg Derr)
In this 1967 photo, Albert DeSalvo is seen minutes after his capture in Boston.
In this 1967 photo, Albert DeSalvo is seen minutes after his capture in Boston.   (Uncredited)
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