Posteal Laskey (1 Viewer)


Posteal Laskey

A.K.A.: "The Cincinnati Strangler"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 7
Date of murders: 1965 - 1966
Date of arrest: December 1966
Date of birth: 1937
Victims profile: Women aged between 51 and 81 years
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to death, 1967. Commuted to life imprisonment, 1972. Died in prison on May 29, 2007

The Cincinnati Strangler was the name given to a serial killer who raped, then strangled seven mostly elderly women in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1965 and 1966. The identity of the Cincinnati Strangler is commonly believed to be former cab driver, Posteal Laskey.

During the killing spree there was considerable alarm on the part of many Cincinnatians, with locksmiths and hardware stores unable to keep up with the demand for locks.

Despite being charged with only one murder, the citywide panic only abated after Laskey's arrest and conviction, when the killings suddenly stopped, thus supporting investigators' claim that they successfully found and jailed the Cincinnati Strangler.

Originally sentenced to death, Laskey's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia. In February 2007, Laskey was denied parole. The grounds cited by the Ohio Parole Board included the heinous nature of the crime, Laskey's prior record and the community disapproval of an early release.

He would have eligible for parole again in 2017 at age 79 years old and was incarcerated in the Pickaway Correctional Institution. Laskey died on May 29, 2007 of natural causes, while still in prison. No one claimed his body and prison officials said he was buried in one of the State of Ohio's prison cemeteries.

Outrage grows to release of killer

March 1, 2002

As he sped through Price Hill's rain-soaked streets 35 years ago to the scene of what he thought was a car wreck, Cincinnati Patrolman Frank Sefton had no idea he would play a part in ending an infamous crime spree linked to a killer dubbed the ''Cincinnati Strangler.''

''That was a really gruesome scene up there,'' said Sefton, who retired from the police department in 1987 and now works for the city Office of Municipal Investigation.

At the intersection of Ring Place and Grand Avenue, he saw a Yellow Cab in the middle of the street. Nearby on the pavement lay Barbara Bowman, her clothes askew, her right foot almost severed, her throat cut and bleeding profusely.

It would be nearly four months before police would arrest Posteal Laskey for the crime, ending a string of assaults on women that terrified the city.

Laskey was convicted and sent to prison in 1967; next week, the now-64-year-old inmate will make another bid to the Ohio Parole Board for freedom, this time after 35 years behind bars.

''They were terrified,'' Sefton said of the public after Ms. Bowman's killing. ''The locksmiths and the hardware stores couldn't keep locks in stock. There was a huge demand for them. ... Because of the hysteria, everybody was absolutely petrified.''

Laskey was sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life in 1972 when the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen wants the Parole Board to know that there is still strong opposition to Laskey's release.

''Purely and simply, he's a serial killer, and unless the Parole Board knows something we don't, serial killers shouldn't be let out,'' Allen said. ''He got a break once when it was commuted in 1972.''

Although he was convicted of just one murder, police were convinced Laskey committed at least six others.

Ms. Bowman, a 31-year-old single secretary, left the Lark Cafe, 3001 Vine St., at 2:15 a.m. on Aug. 14, 1966, in a cab driven by a short, thin black man.

Laskey had previously worked for Yellow Cab and using a master key he'd had made, stole cab No. 870.

After Ms. Bowman's murder was reported, two people told policethey had stopped and asked a man and woman in that cab for directions.

Police suspect that scaredLaskey so much that he stabbed and choked Ms. Bowman and, when she tried to flee, ran over her with the cab.

''The viciousness of what he did to her that night was unbelievable,'' Sefton said.

''I asked a man standing there to help me and he threw up it was so bad.''

Ms. Bowman had been stabbed seven times in the neck, raped, and strangled - perhaps with the pearl necklace she wore.

As Laskey tried to drive the cab away from the scene, it hit a street sign, breaking a tie-rod, affecting the ability to steer. He hailed another cab and got away.

Laskey had been interviewed by police during the crime spree, but they had no proof of his guilt. He was a suspect because of his conviction - he served four years in prison - for an earlier assault that bore a chilling resemblance to the string of 1966 attacks.

Still unable to put a name on the face, police were baffled as to who was killing, beating and raping women - mostly elderly ones.

Police finally got the break they needed after someone saw the license number of a man who forced his way into a West Court Street apartment on Dec. 8 and tried to assault the woman who lived there.

The next day, using that license plate number, officers arrested Laskey.

Even though Cincinnati had 16 homicide detectives at that time, so many others were called in from other areas, Sefton said, that 54 detectives were on the case when Laskey was caught.

Sefton has little sympathy for Laskey and doesn't care if a sick old man who has served 35 years in prison wants to be freed.

''You want to take a risk of letting him out? With these sexual serial killers, you just can't predict what they will do,'' Sefton said.

''If it was just Bowman, her case alone would be enough to keep him in for life. There's no question people like that shouldn't be let out.''

Posteal Laskey

Between October 1965 and December 1966, female Cincinnati residents were terrorized by a series of stranglings and sexual assaults, recalling memories of recent turmoil generated by the "Boston Strangler." Seven women died and one was injured in the space of fourteen months, the ultimate conviction of a suspect in a single case relaxing tension only when the murders ceased, thereby supporting homicide detectives in their claim that all eight crimes had been committed by a single man.

The killer blew his first attempt, on October 12, 1965, when he beat and raped a 65-year-old woman, failing in his effort to strangle her with a length of plastic clothesline. Two months later, on December 2, his weapon was the same, employed to strangle Emogene Harrington in the basement of her own apartment building. Police linked the two crimes in theory, but the panic was yet to come.

On April 4, 1966, 58-year-old Lois Dant was raped and strangled in her first-floor Cincinnati apartment. Two months later, on June 10, 56-year-old Jeannette Messer was found in a city park, raped and strangled with a necktie.

On October 12, Mrs. Carl Hochhausler, 51, was found by her daughter in the family garage, beaten, raped and strangled to death by an unknown assailant. Eight days later, in a crime that police called "an exact copy" of the previous murders, 81-year-old Rose Winstsel was savagely beaten in her home, strangled with the electric cord of a heating pad. Authorities were less certain in the death of octogenarian Lula Kerrick, found in the elevator of her apartment building on December 9. The strangulation looked familiar, granted, but she had not suffered sexual assault.

A few days later, suspect Posteal Laskey was arrested and charged with the "similar" slaying of a seventh victim, Barbara Bowman. Convicted and sentenced to life for that crime, Laskey was never charged in the other stranglings, but police remain confident of his guilt, an assumption seemingly supported by the abrupt cessation of murders after his arrest.


MO: Rape-slayer of women age 51-81

DISPOSITION: Convicted on one count, 1967.

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