Tuesday 18 October 2016

Blood Brothers Volume 2

25 Shocking Tales of America's Worst African American Serial Killers, including; 

Harrison Graham: the killer had a unique way of dealing with corpses, he simply allowed them to rot in his apartment. The stench of 8 decomposing bodies eventually led to his downfall.

Maury Travis: a brutal torturer and rapist of women who was caught out by his internet browsing history.

Robert Nixon: the “Brick Moron” preyed on helpless women in Chicago and L.A., savagely bludgeoning them to death.

Craig Price: America's youngest serial killer, Price murdered his first victim at 13, and had added three more before he'd even turned 16.

Milton Johnson: a killer with a grudge again society, Johnson massacred 18 people during a series of weekend murder sprees.

Derrick Todd Lee: brutal killer of at least seven Baton Rouge women. Amazingly, another serial killer was working the same turf at the time, killing to keep up with Lee’s body count.

Lemuel Smith: already serving life for a series of brutal murders, Smith claimed one last victim, a female prison guard who he savagely choked and mutilated.

Lorenzo Fayne: Illinois child killer, torturer, and necrophile who was responsible for at least five deaths.

Jason Thomas Scott: would be criminal mastermind with a deadly sideline in sadistic murder.

Gerald Parker: a savage home invading psychopath known as the “Bedroom Basher,” Parker was eventually nailed by DNA evidence.

Plus 15 more riveting true crime cases. Click here to get your copy now.

Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of

Blood Brothers Volume Two


Harrison Graham

The Cookie Monster

“He's not a killer, he's a lover.” – Joel S. Moldovsky, Harrison Graham's defense attorney. 
The Seventies and Eighties were a horrific period in the annals of American crime, an era during which many of the country’s most notorious serial killers emerged. Barely a year passed without some new and terrifying monster being introduced via the nation’s media – The Hillside Strangler, the Son of Sam, Zodiac. Some – Bundy, Gacy, Ramirez, among them – became household names, the quintessential bogeymen of the age. For a time, it seemed like no major American city was without its own, monstrous neighborhood psycho.  

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was no exception. In the early Eighties, a psychopath known only as the Frankford Slasher, hacked and stabbed seven women to death in the vicinity of the El (elevated railroad) along Frankford Avenue. Then there was Gary Heidnik, a stock market genius and wannabe clergyman, who kept several women captive in his basement, killing two of them and reportedly cannibalizing their corpses. Finally, there was Harrison Graham, a mentally retarded handyman who fashioned himself on Sesame Street’s ‘Cookie Monster’ and liked to collect corpses. 

On August 9, 1987, a sweltering Sunday in the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ Philadelphia PD officers were called to a two-room apartment in a run-down building in north Philly. The tenant, an African-American man named Harrison Graham, had been evicted that day due to a terrible stench coming from his rooms. Landlord Nathanial Choice had sent his son and nephew to order Graham to leave, which he’d done without protest. The men had then entered the filthy apartment and found one of the doors nailed shut. One of them had crouched down and peeked through the keyhole. What he’d seen had sent him scuttling into the passage to throw up. It had also given him cause to call the police. 

It was mid-afternoon when Officer Pete Scallatino arrived at 1631 North 19th Street. The area was extremely rundown, with dilapidated buildings, many of them boarded up and abandoned. The apartment block he’d been called to certainly fit that description, although the two men waiting on the sidewalk assured him that there were still several tenants living there. 

Scallatino followed the men up to the third-floor apartment, his nose assaulted by the horrendous smell coming from the other side of the door - garbage and excrement and, underlying it all, the unmistakable stench of death. He fully expected to find a decomposing body in the apartment, yet he was unprepared for what he did find. Garbage lay waist deep in places, there were blood smears on the walls and someone had evidently kept a dog in here, without bothering to pick up the excrement.  

The men called Scallatino over to the keyhole, and peering through, he saw what had alarmed them, the naked legs of an African-American woman. By this time Charles Johnson, an investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office, had arrived on the scene and he and Scallatino forced the door open.

If the smell in the other room had been bad, the reek that wafted out from this one was positively toxic. Johnson handed Scallatino a gauze mask then donned one himself before the officers entered the room. This space, too, was piled high with trash, but what held their attention was the naked corpse lying on a badly stained mattress. Bloating and discoloration indicated that she’d been dead for some time and decomposition was already fairly advanced. She was also not the only corpse in the room. Next to the mattress lay another bloated cadaver, this one clothed in a denim miniskirt. 

Having now confirmed that this was a potential crime scene, the officers retreated, put up yellow crime scene tape and went downstairs to call backup. They weren’t yet sure that the women had been murdered – they might, for example, have died from drug overdoses – but nonetheless, Scallatino called in homicide detective, James Hansen, a veteran of the force who’d been the lead detective in the Heidnik case.

By the time crime scene investigators arrived, a sizable crowd of rubberneckers had gathered outside the apartment block. The officers therefore cordoned off the building before proceeding upstairs and beginning their search. Even without the decomposing corpses, the scene was gruesome and incredibly filthy. Barely an inch of floor space was visible among the litter of tins, half-consumed meals, moldering old newspapers, dog feces, jars of yellow liquid, rotting blankets, stained mattresses and broken furniture. Swarms of flies clung to the peeling walls and warped ceiling, rats and roaches scrambled for cover among the debris, while the corpses were alive with maggots.      

At around 3:45 p.m., the searchers turned up a third corpse, this one skeletal, wrapped in sheets and buried under a pile of rags and other garbage. Less than two hours later, a fourth set of mummified remains was discovered. The fifth body was found around 5:30, by which time the Medical Examiner had been summoned to the scene (something which only occurred in exceptional circumstances).

As evening fell, the investigators brought in lights and continued their painstaking work. The sixth corpse was found crammed inside a tiny 6-inch-deep closet, at around 8 p.m., wrapped in a sheet and tied with white electrical cord.

A light rain was beginning to fall as the team expanded their search to the rest of the building. Word had by now spread around the neighborhood, and despite the weather, the crowd had swelled, pushing up against the police barriers as the bodies began to be removed from the building. One more gruesome discovery awaited, a moldering canvas bag was found on the roof, inside, a leg and some foot bones.

Although the condition of the corpses made it impossible to establish cause of death without an autopsy, the police were now certain that they were dealing with a case of serial murder. While preparations began to dig up the backyard of the building in the search for more bodies, a hunt was launched for the missing tenant. 

Harrison Graham – known to friends and acquaintances as Marty – was born on October 9, 1958. At the time of the investigation, he was 29 and had been living in the apartment for four years. Six-foot-tall, Graham was of medium build, although he had powerful shoulders and disproportionately large hands. He was well known in the area where he offered his services as a handyman. He was also a drug user and a small time dealer, who allowed local junkies to shoot up in his apartment. The high school dropout was considered friendly and enjoyed amusing neighborhood kids with his impersonations of Sesame Street’s ‘Cookie Monster.’ However, he also had a violent side and had once dangled a woman from his apartment window. An acquaintance also reported that Graham kept a scrapbook with drawings of naked women and dismembered body parts. 

Graham was known to frequent two areas besides his apartment: 8th Street and Erie Avenue, and 56th and Spruce. It was believed that he had either family or friends in those areas and police therefore staked them out. However, despite a number of reported sightings, Graham remained at large.

Meanwhile, Medical Examiner Robert L. Catherman was hard at work trying to identify the victims and determine cause of death. It was believed that the first two bodies had been dead only two or three days, with decomposition accelerated by the intense summer heat. Both were African-American women in their late twenties to early thirties. There were no obvious signs of violence on the corpses, no bullet wounds or evidence of bludgeoning.

The other bodies were even more of a challenge, so severely decomposed that it was not even possible to determine race or sex. An anthropologist would have to be called in to study the bone structure of the victims, but there was, at least, one breakthrough. The fourth victim had a broken hyoid bone, indicative of strangulation.  

By August 11, it was clear that the two most recent victims had also been strangled. Then autopsies on two of the other cadavers determined that they were young African-American females, although, in these cases, cause of death was impossible to determine.   

Other clues came from members of the public. A woman came forward to say that she believed one of the victims was a friend of hers, 30-year-old Sandra Garvin. Within the next days, more witnesses offered suggestions as to the identities of the victims, women who had known Marty Graham and were now missing. A man recognized the clothing from the second victim and believed that she was his wife. A neighbor came forward and suggested the name of Robin DeShazor, Graham’s one-time girlfriend. Graham had regularly beat Robin, she said, and Robin had not been seen for some time.

In the meantime, the police continued their hunt for Graham. Numerous sightings were reported. He was spotted on Broad Street, on a SEPTA bus, at a soup kitchen, at a car wash, at the Cathedral of Deliverance Evangelistic Church. Graham’s family joined in the search, going on television and begging him to give himself up.  

As the bid to identify victims continued, forensic dentist Haskell Askins was brought in to assist in identification via dental records. He appealed to anyone who suspected that a loved one might be among the dead to come forward with their dental records. Only one of the murdered women hadn’t had dental work, so a comparison would definitely yield results, either to identify or eliminate a suspected victim. 

On August 15, six days after the initial discovery, police searching a building three doors down from Graham’s, found a human torso and a skull, wrapped in a brown blanket and tied with an electrical cord. This was similar to the way the body had been stored in Graham's closet, leading them to suspect that it was another of his kills. But was this the eighth victim, or parts of the victim whose leg bones had been found on the roof? Time and forensics would tell.  

The M.E.'s office had by now determined that six of the victims were black females, one of whom had been positively identified. She was Mary Jeter Mathis, a 36-year-old mother of five.  

Then, on August 17, the manhunt was over, after Marty Graham’s mother talked him into giving himself up. Police officers took him into custody on a North Philadelphia street corner. He surrendered without a fight and was taken in for questioning. By evening, he had been charged with seven counts of murder and seven counts of abuse of a corpse. 

Graham came up with a unique (if somewhat hair-brained) explanation for the bodies in his apartment. He claimed that they were there when he moved in.  However, under interrogation, he eventually cracked and admitted that he’d strangled all seven of the victims while under the influence of drugs. He offered up five names; Robin DeShazor, Cynthia Brooks, 28, Mary Jeters, 39, Barbara Mahoney, 22, and Patricia Franklin, 24. He didn't know the names of two victims, whom he'd met on the street and lured back to his apartment with the promise of drugs. (The police had already determined that one was Sandra Garvin, 33, and the final victim would later be identified as 25-year-old Valerie Jamison).
Graham’s MO was simple. He’d get the women high on drugs and alcohol, then talk them into consensual sex. While thus engaged, he’d strangle them. Afterwards, he'd fall asleep. He said that it always surprised him when he woke to find a dead woman in his bed.

Graham said that all of the victims had been killed that year, beginning in January. The first had been his girlfriend, Robin DeShazor, whose body he’d dumped on the roof. Later, after he’d told another live-in girlfriend about it, she’d insisted that he move the remains. He’d carried the head and torso to another building, but had left the legs behind in a bag, where the police had found them. 

Graham’s statement eventually ran to 10 pages and included details of each of the murders. He insisted that he hadn’t intended to kill and that the deaths were accidental. The veracity of that statement would be up to a court of law to decide.

As it turned out, Graham’s public defender, Joel S. Moldovsky, decided on a different strategy. He decided to plead Graham “not guilty by reason of insanity.” To this extent, he advised Graham to waive his right to a jury trial and chose to have the outcome of the case decided by a judge.  

But that move backfired badly when Judge Latrone found Graham guilty on all counts. In May 1988, the judge sentenced Graham to six consecutive terms of 7-to-14 years, six death sentences and one life term. However, he added an unusual proviso. Graham was to serve his life term before the death penalty could be carried out. In effect, Latrone had sentenced Graham to life without the possibility of parole, a move that was lauded by both defense and prosecution attorneys, and one which pretty much negated the possibility of an appeal. Moldovsky would not want to risk a new sentence that might be worse for his client. 

Graham was remanded to the Harrisburg Penitentiary in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he studied religion and became an ordained minister. However, in 1994, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that his death sentence must be carried out. The execution was scheduled for December 7, but was stayed and, after a decade of legal maneuvering, eventually set aside.

Today, Marty Graham resides in a medium security facility in Pennsylvania where he continues to practice as a minister of religion.

Continue reading? Click here to download now from Amazon

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. Download Amazon’s free Kindle reader here for PC or Mac   


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.