Bodies in the Garden
Mexican Spree Killer
Crime Spree: August-September 1942
Gregorio Hernandez, also known as the 'Strangler of Tacuba', was a Mexican spree killer. He was the first multiple murderer whose case was widely published in the Mexican media and he became a national celebrity.
Gregorio was born in Mexico City in a family originating from the state of Veracruz. In the part, due to an encephalitis infection, he showed abnormal behavior as a child, including cruelty to animals. Gregorio Hernandez received a scholarship from Petróleos Mexicanos to study chemistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
On August 15th in 1942 Gregorio was visited in his house in the Tacuba neighborhood of Mexico City by 16-year-old prostitute María de los Ángeles González. After having sex with her, Hernandez strangled the child and buried her body in his garden.
In the following weeks he also murdered prostitutes Rosa Reyes and Raquel Martínez de León, both aged 16, and finally 19-year-old fellow chemistry student Graciela Arias Ávalos.
His neighbors started to get suspicious and informed the police. Shortly before the police exhumed the bodies, Gregorio had himself committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he was arrested on the 7th of September, 1942.
Gregorio Hernandez was incarcerated in the notorious Lecumberri prison. During his trial, he pleaded guilty and was given a life sentence. He escaped prison in 1947 and fled to Oaxaca, but eventually was rearrested.
Hernandez became a celebrity in Mexico, being the first multiple murderer receiving widespread media attention in that country. In the years following his murders there were reports of several copycat murderers imitating his crimes and an (illegal) pornographic movie based on his story was made.
Gregorio himself wrote three books while in prison and was regularly questioned and investigated by the country's top psychiatrists and criminologists. He was allowed to pursue psychiatry and law studies while in prison. He learned to play the piano, wrote poetry, and even married in prison. His wife bore him four children.
In 1976 Gregorio Hernandez was pardoned by president Luis Echeverría. He was invited by interior secretary Mario Moya to give a speech in the Congress of the Union, where he was celebrated as a hero. He was hailed as a "great example" and a "clear case of rehabilitation". Gregorio completed his law studies and worked as a lawyer until his death in 1999.
source: murderpedia | wikipedia
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