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SJC denies appeal of conviction in 1964 murder case

Inmate accused as Boston Strangler

Email|Print| Text size + By Jay Lindsay
Associated Press / February 16, 2008

The state's highest court denied an appeal yesterday in the murder conviction of George Nassar, a killer who was the jailhouse confidant of the reputed Boston Strangler.

Nassar's appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court was made after his case lay dormant for more than 20 years. During that time, Nassar was implicated by various people close to the case as the real Boston Strangler, who killed 13 women between 1962 and early 1964.

He has denied he had anything to do with the deaths.

Nassar, now in his mid-70s, was 15 when he killed a Lawrence store clerk in 1948. He was paroled in 1961. In October 1964, he was charged with shooting an Andover gas station attendant to death as the man begged for mercy.

Nassar's case before the SJC concerned a motion he filed to indicate an intention to appeal the 1982 denial of a new trial in the second killing. But he never acted, and the matter was dismissed in November 1983.

In 2006, Nassar argued in court filings that he couldn't make his case because he was in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., without access to Massachusetts legal materials. The SJC noted that Nassar was back in Massachusetts in December 1983 and did not inquire about the case then or for more than two decades after.

A call to Nassar's lawyer was not immediately returned.

While in jail, Nassar befriended Albert DeSalvo, who had been arrested for sexual assault in November 1964. The next year, Nassar told his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, that DeSalvo, another client of Bailey's, was the Boston Strangler.

DeSalvo then confessed in remarkable detail to Bailey, who told the story in court in hope of convincing the jury considering the sexual assault charges that DeSalvo was insane. It didn't work, and DeSalvo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

DeSalvo later recanted his Strangler confession and was killed in prison in 1973. In 2001, forensic scientists announced that DNA evidence taken from the body of the Strangler's final victim did not match DeSalvo's.

Ames Robey, a former prison psychologist who analyzed DeSalvo and Nassar, has said that Nassar was a misogynistic, psychopathic killer who was a far more likely suspect than DeSalvo. Some followers of the case said Nassar was the real Strangler and fed DeSalvo details of the slayings so he could confess and gain notoriety.

In a 1999 interview with the Globe, Nassar denied he had anything to do with the Strangler slayings. But he said the speculation killed any chance he had for parole.

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