Frank Dolezal's Name Cleared in Torso Murders

Dolezal: Guilty until proven innocent, recently.
  • Dolezal: Guilty until proven innocent, recently.

The Torso Murders — Cleveland’s little corner of the greater American serial killer mythology — remain unsolved to this day. Some 70 years later, we’ll likely never get a clear snapshot of who decapitated and gutted 12 people in the 1930s, but thanks to some new gumshoe work, we at least know who didn’t commit the crimes. Frank Dolezal, an immigrant bricklayer, was arrested in 1938 and charged with the crimes. He later committed suicide in his cell. Now, researchers believe he was merely a police patsy and may have been murdered.

WKYC has the details:

Cuyahoga Community College professor and author Dr. James J. Badal has researched the crimes for two decades. Badal says his team is so confident about their findings that the Police Historical Society commissioned a headstone to be placed on Dolezal's previously unmarked grave.

"Not only is it a cleansing for myself," said Dolezal-Satterlee. "I think for my relatives...(they'll) have a silent moment. And perhaps they'll be at rest as well."

"Frank Dolezal was not the mad butcher, nor did he commit suicide," Dr. Badal said. "He made three confessions. None of them held up.

"And the lead detective," said Badal, "wrote in his memoirs, 'This is the first time that I've ever known anyone to confess to a crime that didn't know the details of the crime to which he was confessing


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