EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 16, 2008

Appeal denied for jailhouse confidant of reputed Boston Strangler George Nassar convicted of Lawrence and Andover murders

BOSTON — The state's highest court yesterday denied an appeal in the 1967 murder conviction of George Nassar, a remorseless killer who some believe is the real Boston Strangler.

Nassar's appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court came after his case lay dormant for more than 20 years. During that time, Nassar was implicated by various people close to the case as the real Boston Strangler, who killed 13 women between 1962 and early 1964.

He has denied he had anything to do with the deaths, and his attorney, Claudia Bolgen, repeated the denial yesterday.

Nassar, now 75, was 15 when he killed a Lawrence store clerk in 1948. He was paroled in 1961, then charged in October 1964 with shooting an Andover gas station attendant to death as the man begged for mercy.

Nassar's case before the state's highest court concerned a motion he filed to indicate an intention to appeal the 1982 denial of a new trial in the second killing. But he never acted, and the matter was dismissed in November 1983.

In 2006, Nassar, who is serving a life sentence and is known for an extraordinarily high IQ, argued in court filings that he couldn't make his case because he was in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, without access to Massachusetts legal materials.

The court noted yesterday that Nassar was back in Massachusetts in December 1983 and didn't inquire about the case then or for more than two decades after.

Bolgen said she was disappointed in the decision, but said Nassar had a pending motion for a new trial in Essex County that she was confident would be granted.

The motion claims the judge gave erroneous jury instructions, including one involving a witness photo identification, and questions whether Nassar was advised of his right to testify, Bolgen said.

Bolgen said she could not comment on why there was such a gap in litigation in the case, but said Nassar is innocent of the 1964 killing.

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