Dorothy Glaser

I spent this week trying to clear out my DVR after I received a month free of Investigation Discovery (ID), my favorite channel that I no longer subscribe to. When that happens it feels like I literally tape every single show available and end up with hours upon hours to sort through.  When I saw the show "Your Worst Nightmare" that dealt with this case I knew this was the one I wanted to research first today.  When the episode was over, even I, someone who reads or sees things on crime nearly every day, was left stunned.  It was not the crime itself as you have heard me say many times that spouse on spouse murder is sadly almost mundane but it was the lengths in which Dorothy Glaser not only went to make it happen but also her tenacity to make sure that it was done.  Then again, as I often tell my husband, it is only on the rare occasion in which a story of murder is told in which the perpetrator is not caught so she obviously make a mistake somewhere. In this case it was not so much her first crime that she made a mistake with and I think it is widely agreed that had she not become greedy and arrogant she probably would have gotten away with it.

On October 4, 1985 Dorothy and her husband Jerome "Jerry" Glaser had returned to their Georgia home early from a high school football game when Dorothy had complained of not feeling well.  When Jerry went into the bedroom to get a pillow for his sick wife he was met with an intruder who fired shots at Jerry.  The episode that I watched stated that he only thing that seemed to have been stolen from the house was a gun that Jerry kept in the bedroom, but my research did not for sure indicate this.  At any rate Jerry was all but grazed by a bullet and was just injured slightly.  Dorothy told the police that she saw the intruder run through the house and out the back door but did not get a good look at him.  Police seemed a bit suspicious because there did not seem to be any kind of forced entry into the home but there was nothing to prove.  Again, the episode I watched indicated that they were looking for someone who had supposedly peeped into the Glaser's daughter's bedroom a few weeks prior thinking that could be a lead (again, my research did not mention this).  

Over the next four weeks Jerry was said to have become paranoid and fearful that the intruder would return and kill him.  There is some speculation that while he very well may have been depressed and fearful that it is possible that he may not have been just quite as much as Dorothy was sure to let people, neighbors, friends, relatives and even police believe.  While obviously being shot at by an intruder in your own home would cause fear in people it would be several years before it would be discovered that Dorothy may have made these fears to be more than they were and if she had not done so she surely did not help matters.  But then again, in October of 1985 no one knew this.  It was said that Jerry had gone and bought a new gun and kept it with him at all times. Dorothy would say that he quit sleeping in the bedroom, or sleeping much at all as he seemed to always be watching for the return of the intruder.  Once again the episode I watched indicated that Jerry also started receiving phone calls at odd hours in which the person on the other ends seemed to say nothing for a bit before hanging up.  As I have mentioned my research did not mention this, but to be fair, aside from the information provided by the episode I was only able to find a few other sources, although one included a 2000 appeal.  Legally however, what may have happened in the four weeks after the intruder had shot at Jerry is not likely important when it came to her trial so this is likely why there was little talk of it in the information I gathered.  But, as I said Dorothy was sure to let everyone know that Jerry had bought a new gun and his behavior had changed.  She spoke to officers about it who then talked to Jerry and convinced him to seek therapy for his issues.  

According to the story she would tell to the police, Dorothy stated that on October 31, 1985 she had taken their teenage children to school and had returned home to find Jerry asleep in the bedroom (most reports say that she said he had stop sleeping there since the intruder and some reports say he was on the couch when she came in but the appeal says the bedroom so I am going with that) and awoke when she came in.  She said he was delirious and did not recognize her and began waving the gun at her.  She told investigators that she had wrestled with Jerry over the gun and that it had accidentally gone off, shooting him.  It seems investigators were suspicious from the beginning and even more so when the medical examiner stated that the autopsy did not seem to collaborate Dorothy's story by the angle of the bullet that entered his body. It was initially ruled as a homicide.  Dorothy was not going to take this ruling sitting down.  She requested a coroner inquest be done.  On December 30, 1985, two months after his death the official cause of death was changed to accidental and there were no charges filed.

Over the next few years not only did Dorothy receive $250,000 in life insurance (including a double indemnity) for Jerry, she also sued the therapist he had seen after the intruder incident but before his death.  She claimed that he had failed in getting Jerry the treatment that he needed and basically his negligence had caused Jerry's demise and ultimate death.  She apparently initially lost that case but just as she did not accept the initial ruling in Jerry's death, she appealed this too.  Ultimately she received $40,000 in the case against the doctor but my research indicated this was because the lawyers for the doctor had failed to file a proper response to the appeal.  This may have been a case in which since it involved "malpractice" it was just more feasible to settle than fight any longer but I cannot say for sure.

So that would seem to be the end of it.... right?  Well, it could have been.  That is until July of 1990, when Dorothy approached her nephew Bobby Spargo.  Dorothy was looking to find someone to kill her brother in law, Andy Matkin and apparently she thought Bobby was the one to either do it or find someone for her.  Well, Dorothy put her faith into the wrong person because instead Bobby went to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and agreed to work with them to take Dorothy down for this.  Little did they know when they wired Bobby for conversations with Dorothy that she would reveal way more than they expected.  It was in one of these taped conversations that Dorothy revealed to Bobby what she had done to Jerry.  It was as if she was bragging as she arrogantly told him how she had hired someone to kill Jerry but since he had failed she took the next month to plan everything to make it look like Jerry had basically gone crazy and then she "shot him with his own gun" and got away with it.      

In the end it was Dorothy who had hung herself.  When it came to the Matkin case she pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and received a 10 year sentence.  That kept her in prison while the investigators continued to build their case against here pertaining to Jerry.  They could not really only use her words, they needed more proof.  In April of 1993 she was indicted on charges of malice murder and criminal attempt to commit murder. Her trial began in August of that year and lasted four days.  She was ultimately convicted.  She received a life sentence for murder (apparently life means life there as she has no projected parole date) and another ten years for the conspiracy charge.  Her sister, Nell Matkin, would also receive a 5 year sentence for apparently conspiring with Dorothy to have her husband killed.  She was released in July of 1995.  

In September of 2000 Dorothy had an appeal heard by the courts.  They affirmed her conviction and the fairness of her trial but I found several things interesting in that appeal.  First and foremost I was utterly surprised I saw nothing pertaining to an argument that she had ineffective counsel at her trial. This claim is so standard in appeals that even judges have commented on how it seems to be the fall back for all appeals. She did argue a few interesting things. Much of her argument had to do with the fact that the taped conversations with Bobby Spargo had been entered into trial, but not just that they were entered, that they were entered three days into the trial.  Her attorney's sited the case of Brady v. Maryland as their claim that the tapes should not have been allowed, at least when they were.  They argued that when they were entered the defense did not have adequate time to review them and in essence properly defend her. I did a quick search on this case and basically what it comes down to is evidence that is withheld from the trial or defense.  In the Brady case he claimed that his accomplice committed a murder and the investigators had a statement from the accomplice in which he admitted this also.  The courts in the Brady case upheld his conviction but ordered a retrial on his sentencing.  However, the courts in Dorothy's case rejected this argument saying that since the statement was from Dorothy herself it did not qualify under the Brady rule.  In the actual Brady case it was not Brady himself who had made the statement but someone else to the police, while in this case the courts ruled that since Dorothy made the statement herself she knew that it had been said.  The courts ruled against Dorothy in all of her points, including the fact that evidence of her conspiracy against Matkin had been entered into her trial as well as an issue with a replaced juror.  

As I said in the beginning the cursory facts of this case are not surprising in the least.  We all know that the majority of murders are committed by people who know their victims, and more often than not they are committed by those closest to them, including significant others.  The part of this case that stunned me was the callousness of this case and the lengths in which Dorothy Glaser was willing to go to ensure that her husband died and she was not held responsible.  Whether her first attempt, by hiring someone in which apparently to this day she has never named, actually caused as much fear and paranoia in Jerry as she claimed is unclear.  But, what is clear that if Jerry was as fearful and paranoid as she stated it was her actions of hiring a hit man to kill him that caused it, or it was her action after to induce those feelings.  If he was not as fearful or paranoid as she claimed then she made damn sure people thought he was.  As she told her nephew "I had a whole month to prepare" to set things in motion to make sure she was cleared.  And, when there were questions of such she fought until she was declared right.  Had her greed not gotten the best of her and she conspire with her sister it is very likely that Dorothy would have gotten away with the perfect murder.  

Comments

  1. Her sister was the shooter, and the one that made the phone calls to Jerry, they really made him sick; definitely; and Dorothy was paying her back, because the other person did not exist. Simple logic.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why do you ask for comments if they are going to be cut by you, maybe that's why there is no people here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are not cut. They are moderated and sent to me for approval. In all the time I have only denied maybe 10 and 9 of those were spam!

      Delete
    2. They are not cut. They are moderated and sent to me for approval. In all the time I have only denied maybe 10 and 9 of those were spam!

      Delete
  3. This was one of the most chilling and horrifying cases i have ever seen on ID
    She was diabolical--she tortured him and finally killed him--😈
    If she did not brag about what she did she would have gotten away with it--it was
    Pretty close to a perfect murder

    ReplyDelete

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