Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Earle Nelson often studied his worn Bible, using it to disarm his victims, who felt no danger from a man who carried a copy of the "good book" wherever he went. Assured that his victims were off their guard, he would then strangle them and rape their corpses at the first opportunity.
Nelson was barely out of his teens when he tried to rape a woman and was sent to prison in 1918. He escaped and was recaptured twice before he was successful and began his horrid killing spree in 1926. Nelson's victims were mostly landladies from whom he would approach on the premise of renting a room and would quickly attack them, often leaving their corpses under the nearest bed. By using false names and moving on quickly after his kills, Nelson easily avoided capture during his year-and-a-half long murder spree.
Nelson claimed victims in several West Coast cities, throughout the upper Midwest, and finally in Canada, where he was captured in June of 1927 after two killings in Winnipeg. By that time he had murdered at least twenty women, and one eight-month-old baby, and was a very highly sought criminal. The killer necrophiliac was put to trial and found guilty of the Winnipeg slaying of Emily Patterson, found by her husband strangled underneath her own bed; her husband had knelt by the bed to pray for his wife's safe return after finding her missing on the afternoon of June 9. Patterson had been Nelson's fifth victim in just ten days.
Nelson was hanged on January 13, 1928.
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