Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 30, 2010

Today’s Grand Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After his first grisly crime, Harvey Louis Carignan (the “Want-Ad Killer”) beat a death sentence and continued to manipulate, rape, and bludgeon women to death using want ads to lure his young female victims. His weapon of choice was a claw hammer which he used to rape and bludgeon his victims earning him the nickname of “Harv the Hammer.” He described himself as: “An instrument of God, one who was acting under His personal instructions. Murder, rape and mutilation are all part of a Grand Plan. God is a figure with a large hood and you can’t see his face.” Under so-called orders from God, he killed at least 5 and maybe as many as 18 women. A catalogue of some of his crimes:

On July 31, 1949 while stationed at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, Carignan raped and killed 57-year-old Laura Showatler. She died from several blows to the head. (He was convicted of this crime and sentenced to death, but due to a legal technicality his sentence was overturned and he was paroled on April 2, 1960.)

On October 15, 1972, ninteen-year-old Leslie Laura Brock of Bellingham, Washington was found dead. She died from several blows to the head. Witnesses claimed that they saw her get into Carignan’s silver truck.

On May 1, 1973, Kathy Sue Miller, age fifteen, answered Carignan’s want ad for employees at a service station that he was leasing. When the girl showed up in response to the ad, he sexually assaulted and killed her. Her body was found months later by two boys hiking on the Indian reservation north of Everett, Washington. She was naked, bundled in a sheet of plastic, and had been beaten with a hammer which left nickel-size holes in her skull.

By May of 1974, Carignan started dating and living with Eileen Hunley, whom he picked up hitchhiking, after moving to Minnesota. In August Eileen broke off her relationship with him. She disappeared on August 10, 1974. Her rotting corpse was found five weeks later in Shelbourne County. Her skull was imploded by the force of savage hammer blows and she had been raped with a tree branch.

On September 14, 1974, Carignan picked up Gwen Burton from a Sears parking lot. He ripped her clothing, choked her into semi-consciousness and sexually assaulted her with a hammer. He dumped her body in a near by field but she survived and was able to craw to the road side for help. Four days later, he picked up Versoi and Diane Flynn. He forced them to perform oral sex and would beat them if they didn’t follow his commands. The two girls were able to escape when Carignan stopped for fuel. Two days later, Kathy Shultz did not show up at her classes. Her body was found the next day by hunters in a cornfield forty miles form Minneapolis. As in the other cases, Kathy’s skull had been destroyed by crushing hammer blows.

In February of 1975, Carignan was tried on the attempted murder and aggravated sodomy in Gwen Burton’s case. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity claiming that God told him to kill those women. The jury was not convinced by the insanity plea and found him guilty. He was sentenced to a maximum of forty years in prison. Since no criminal in Minnesota may be sentenced to a term exceeding forty years, the other trials and sentences, 30 years for the assault on Jewry Billings; 40 years for Eileen Hunley’s murder; and 40 years for killing Kathy Schultz, were mere formalities. Out of the one hundred fifty years, the convicted killer will have to serve no more than forty, with the usual time off for “good behavior.”

Culled from: Mystery Crime Scene
Based on the true crime book The Want-Ad Killer by Ann Rule.

Hmmmm… no more than 40 years can be served in Minnesota? In which case, he would be released in 2015 or earlier (for “good behavior”). Hopefully he’ll die behind bars before that happens… Elderly and infirm or not, I wouldn’t want this guy loosed upon the world again!


  1. I read the Want Ad Killer! It’s one of Ann Rule’s better books. Read it a few months ago, actually.
    Harvey, if he’s sitll alive, is in his early eighties. I have heard he is severely overweight and has heart trouble, so if he ever does get released it will probably be only to die.
    A couple corrections:
    It’s Laura Leslie Brock, not Leslie Laura.
    And not Jewry Billings, though htat’s the common internet version of it. Ann Rule identifies her as Jerri Billings. Jewry’s pretty weird anyway.

  2. I should also add that Carignan is only one of several people who have become serial killers after being released from prison or otherwise escaping punishment for killing somebody:
    William Suff: He and his wife killed their baby and he served a very brief stint in prison before being let out to become The Riverside Prostitute Killer.
    Arthur Shawcross: Served 15 years after killing a little boy and girl (two separate incidents) and upon his release, killed ten or eleven prostitutes around Rochester.
    Kenneth McDuff: Killed two teenage boys and a teenage girl, was sentenced to die, had that sentence overturned when capital punishment was banned, was released from prison and killed nobody knows how many women around Waco. Was finally executed in 1998. He was released from prison despite having been convicted of a felony while incarcerated, trying to bribe a parole board member.
    Henry Lee Lucas; Served time for killing his mother, was let out and the rest is history.

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