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Former WBZ employees tied to Boston Strangler speak out as new movie is released

Former WBZ employees tied to Boston Strangler speak out as new movie is released
Former WBZ employees tied to Boston Strangler speak out as new movie is released 02:37

BOSTON - As a new movie chronicling a terrifying era in Boston now hits TV, those who lived the story of the Boston Strangler are now speaking up. 

"There was a time he came to the WBZ studios and that was terrifying," said Joanne Desmond, the city's first female news anchor. She worked at WBZ, and some of her reporting on 13 women raped and murdered in the 1960's, is featured in the movie. 

The footage shows Desmond standing with a microphone in the Back Bay. "The city is for some glamorous, stimulating, prosperous. Only recently has it become dangerous," she reported. 

Joanne Desmond
Joanne Desmond, former WBZ anchor CBS Boston

It was dangerous even for her, she says now. She says Albert DeSalvo, who later confessed to the crimes, fixated on her, and sent letters. "All written in very small print, 'what is your bra size, panty size,' and a line to put in the numbers," she says. 

Once, he came to the WBZ building on Soldiers Field Road. That night, she says Boston Police stood just off camera in the studio to protect her. "A fairly short man, dark, the description is a little close to what the strangler looked like, what DeSalvo looked like," she says. 

The new movie produced by 20th Century Studios and released by Hulu, tells the story of two other female journalists who worked for a Boston newspaper, connecting the crimes to DeSalvo. 

Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo Captured
Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler ,was captured in a West Lynn uniform store after escaping from Bridgewater State Hospital. (Getty Images/Bettmann)

"I want the viewers to have a respect and understanding of the women that lost their lives," said Casey Sherman, whose Aunt Mary Sullivan was the last victim tied to the Boston Strangler. Coincidentally, he also worked at WBZ as a news producer decades later. By then, DeSalvo had been convicted on unrelated rapes, and was stabbed in his prison cell. 

"I'm looking forward to the film. I hear great things about it," said Sherman. "It follows the trajectory of the multi-killer theory that I'm a proponent of." 

Sherman has long believed some of the women were killed by copy-cat criminals. It's a mystery that keeps the intrigue alive not only in the streets of Boston, but now Hollywood too. 

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