EARLE NELSON, THE GORILLA MURDERER

By Tim Lambert

Earle Leonard Nelson was a serial killer in the 1920s. Nelson was born in San Francisco on 12 May 1897. However he was orphaned when he was a small child. He was then cared for by his grandparents. Later Nelson had an accident with a streetcar and banged his head although whether this affected his behavior as an adult is not known. In 1915 Earle Nelson was sent to jail for breaking into a cabin. In 1921 Earle Nelson attempted to rape a girl. He was sent to a mental hospital but he escaped. On 12 August 1919 he married a schoolteacher. However the marriage was short lived.

Earle Nelson then began strangling women, most of them landladies who took him as a lodger. On 20 February 1926 he killed his first victim, an elderly woman named Clara Newman. The next victim was another elderly woman. Laura Beale was murdered on 2 March 1926. On 10 June 1926 Nelson murdered Lillian St Mary. The next victim was Mary Nesbit on 16 August 1926. Nelson then moved from California to Oregon. In that city he murdered 3 women, Beatrice Withers, Mabel Fluke and Virginia Grant. Earle Nelson then traveled back to San Francisco and he killed Wilhemina Edmunds on 11 November 1926. Nelson then went back to Oregon where he killed Blanche Myers on 26 November 1926. He then moved east and he murdered Elizabeth Beard in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 23 December 1926. On 28 December 1926 Nelson murdered Germania Harpin in Kansas City. He also killed her baby daughter.

The next year, 1927 Earle Nelson was back in his home city, Philadelphia. On 27 April 1927 he murdered Mary McConnell. Then on 1 May 1927 Nelson killed Jenny Randolph in Buffalo, New York. Nelson then moved to Detroit where he murdered 2 women, Minnie May and Mrs M. C. Antwerp. Nelson then went to Chicago where he killed Mary Sietsome. She was his last victim in the USA.

Earle Nelson then moved to the city of Winnipeg, Canada where he continued to murder women. But this time he did not kill landladies. On 8 June 1927 he strangled a girl called Lola Cowan who sold flowers. The next day he murdered a woman named Emily Patterson. It was his last murder. Nelson was captured shortly afterwards. Nelson was convicted of murder on 14 November 1927. Earle Leonard Nelson was hanged in Winnipeg on 13 January 1928.

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