1927-01 Update



Archive - 1927

Homicide #1927-01

Date - 1927-06.10

Victim - Cowan, Lola (14)

Accused - Nelson, Earle Leonard aka "The Dark Strangler"; "The Black Strangler"; "The Gorilla Killer" (alias Wilson, Virgil) (29)

Charge - Murder

One of the most sensational murder cases in North America was brought to a conclusion in Winnipeg in 1928 with the execution of one of the first recorded serial sex killers, Earle "The Strangler" Nelson.

Lola Cowan (14) was a young schoolgirl trying to help her family income by selling paper flowers door-to-door. It is suspected that Earle Nelson met her on the street and convinced her to return to his rooming house where she was then strangled and raped.

The next day Nelson managed to get inside the home of Emily Patterson as she was cleaning house. Nelson raped and strangled the woman, hiding her body under the bed like he had with Cowan and then fled the city.

Nelson was eventually arrested outside Wakopa, taken to Killarney jail, made an escape and was recaptured.  The complex investigation continued and a subsequent trial officially linked Nelson to 22 murders beginning in February 20, 1926 and ending with the death of Cowan and Patterson on June 9-10, 1927. There ware many murders with the same m.o. during this period but not enough evidence to link him to those crimes.

A trial was held between November 1st - 5th, 1927 in the Court of King's Bench, with Judge A.K. Dysart residing. Nelson was found guilty with no recommendation of mercy by the Judge, and sentenced to hang.

Earle Leonard Nelson (29) was executed by hanging on January 13th, 1928.

A very detailed article on Earle Nelson is at