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Harrison Graham

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Harrison Graham (born September 9, 1959) is an African-American serial killer.

In August 1987, he was arrested for the murders of seven women in Philadelphia. His crimes were discovered after Graham was evicted from his apartment due to persistent foul odors. The smell was subsequently identified as coming from the bodies of his victims, which he had wrapped in bedding and piled in the bedroom.

At his mother's urging, Graham turned himself in to authorities after a week as a wanted fugitive. Initially, Graham asserted that the bodies had been in the apartment when he first occupied the unit. He eventually confessed to the crimes, saying that he killed the women in drug-fueled hazes or during sex.

In court, Graham opted for a bench trial due to fears that the gruesome evidence would sway jurors. Two women testified that Graham had not only attacked them, but also claimed to have killed women previously.

The judge rejected Graham's defense that he was psychotic and suffered from multiple personality disorder. He was convicted of seven murder counts and seven charges of desecrating a corpse.

Graham was initially sentenced to the death penalty, though that sentence was overturned on appeal due to his mental illness and low intelligence. As of March 2016, he is imprisoned at State Correctional Institution – Coal Township.

Graham was arrested only months after fellow Philadelphian Gary M. Heidnik was arrested for similar crimes, though Heidnik earned far more publicity. News coverage of Graham's crimes was limited mainly to the Philadelphia area. Criminal justice professor Anthony Walsh suggests that the lack of media attention to Graham's crimes is symptomatic of a broader unawareness or neglect of black serial killers in America: though African-American Graham killed more people than did white Heidnik, the media all but ignored Graham's crimes. Harrison Graham was interviewed by Dr. Allan L. Branson in 2006. That interview is contained in his published work "The Anonymity of African American Serial Killers, A Continuum of Negative Imagery from Slavery to Prisons." Dr. Branson after interviewing Harrison Graham dismisses the allegation that Harrison Graham was mentally retarded but rather drug addled at the time of the murders.


Harrison Graham Wikipedia

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