Earle Nelson - The Gorilla Murderer



Earle Nelson was a bible-loving serial killer who raped and strangled twenty-two landladies in the USA and Canada.

Nelson was born in 1892 and when he was young he suffered a head injury which caused him to be mentally ill.  In 1918 he was put into an institution for assaulting a child, he escaped three times and was judged insane by a California court.

In San Francisco on 20 February 1926 Nelson raped and strangled a 63-year-old woman in the attic of her rooming house.  In the next few months Nelson journeyed accross the USA, renting out rooms and raping and killing landladies.

Nelson crossed into Canada in June 1927.  At Winnipeg he took a room under a false name, telling the landlady that he was ‘a very religious man of high ideals’.  Within days a 14-year-old girl living in the same house as Nelson was found murdered, and the raped and strangled body of Emily Paterson was discovered by her husband.

The police interviewed a second-hand clothing dealer who had sold some garments to a man changing his clothes in the store’s stock-room.  He left behind some belongings, including a fountain pen, which had been taken by the killer from the Paterson's home.  The description of the man was circulated, Nelson was recognised by a Wakopa storekeeper and arrested five miles from the US border.

Nelson was tried at Winnipeg in November 1927 for the murder of Emily Paterson.  Nelson's wife testified at the trial saying that Nelson was a jealous man and thought he had a christlike appearance.  Nelson was found guilty, and was sentenced to death on 14 November 1927.  He said ‘I have never committed murder; never, never, never.’ He was hanged at Winnipeg on 13 January 1928.



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Modus Operandi - Serial Killers