Albert DeSalvo’s children – Why his son fought for his innocence?

Albert DeSalvo

The Boston Strangler on Hulu recaptures the rampant murders of the 1960s from the perspective of Loretta McLaughlin (played by Keira Knightley), the journalist who clued in on the murders and broke the story. Albert DeSalvo, who was convicted of mass rape at the time, confessed to being the killer behind all 13 victims, a majority of whom were elderly women.

However, he was never charged with the murders due to a lack of physical evidence against him and was sentenced to life for sexually assaulting over 300 victims. It does not help that DeSalvo recanted his confession and was later stabbed to death while serving his term. But his family, especially his son, has been fighting for four decades to clear his name of the murders.

Albert DeSalvo had two children, Judy and Michael, from his marriage with a German woman

Albert DeSalvo, who served in the army for eight years, was stationed in Germany when he met his future wife Irmgard Beck. They got married in Frankfurt in 1953 and had two children together.

The couple’s first child, a daughter named Judy, was physically handicapped while their second child was a relatively healthy son named Michael. DeSalvo was noted for his ‘careless supervision of two children’ and used to egg his son to ‘make a mess that Mommy can clean up’.

It is known that Beck was unaware of DeSalvo’s juvenile record when she married him and was kept in the dark by her husband and mother-in-law about his past brushes with the law.

She also refused to believe his confessions to the Boston murders. She was of the view that DeSalvo falsely confessed to profit off of the infamy in the hopes of landing newspaper, book, and movie deals.

Beck and the children moved to Germany after DeSalvo’s conviction for mass rape and changed their surnames to ‘Nichols’. However, the couple never separated officially and remained married until he died in 1973.

Little is known about Judy DeSalvo but her brother Michael has fought for their father’s innocence and has given public statements to the press over the years.

Michael DeSalvo believes that his father was not the Boston Strangler – He claims that Albert was tricked into confessing

Beck’s children grew up not knowing the truth about their convicted father. Michael DeSalvo was 18 years old when he found out who his father was. He had attempted to join the U.S. Army under the name ‘Nichols’ when the officials let him know that his surname was not real.

“That’s when my mom had to produce the birth certificate, and that’s how I found out who my real dad was,” said Michael.

Like Beck, Michael also believes that Albert DeSalvo was innocent of the murders. He claims that his father was tricked into confessing by his lawyer F. Lee Bailey, who promised DeSalvo that he would profit from the story.

In 1999, Michael called for his father’s body to be exhumed from the cemetery for DNA testing in order to prove that he did not murder any of the women. In 2013, the DNA results linked DeSalvo to the murder of Mary Sullivan, one of the 13 victims.

However, another DNA finding in 2015 cleared DeSalvo of his hand in Sullivan’s murder after the DNA of two individuals were found on her body, neither of which belonged to DeSalvo. Michael was happy to clear his father’s name and said:

“[The DNA finding comes] after four decades of pain and shame for my family. I’m convinced my father wasn’t a killer now, and that’s a big weight off my shoulders.”