Texas Honors Boston Strangler—wait, what?

Quite a few websites ascribe ridiculous laws in Houston, Texas that do not exist at all. However, it is true that at one point, legislators in Texas considered giving honor to Albert de Salvo, more commonly known as the Boston Strangler. The Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Waco Rep. Tom Moore, Jr. in 1971 that aimed to commend de Salvo for his “activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.”

The Boston Strangler murdered thirteen single women living in Boston between June 14, 1962, and January 4, 1964. They had been sexually assaulted in their own homes before being strangled with their own clothing. They were anywhere between the ages of 19 and 85.

Criminal investigators were doing their best to find the perpetrator but it was slow going. It was not until Albert de Salvo, charged in the fall of 1964 with the rape of several women in different areas of Massachusetts and known as the “Green Man” or the “Measuring Man,” confessed to the crimes that there was a break in the case. There were inconsistencies in his confession, however, so to this day there are doubts about whether he was the Boston Strangler or not. He probably figured in for a penny, in for a pound. At any rate, he was definitely guilty of the rapes.

None of this explains why Moore would sponsor a bill to honor him, until you remember that even politicians have a sense of humor. He knew that his co-representatives regularly passed resolutions without giving them a good once-over, and he sponsored the resolution as a prank. When it passed unanimously, Moore pulled the plug on the joke, explaining what he had done. He thus earned a place in Texas legislative history and the ire of his fellow representatives. Luckily, Houston and the rest of Texas don’t in truth appreciate or celebrate these kinds of crimes.

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