Edward Joseph "Eddie" Leonski (December 12, 1917 - November 9, 1942) was an American soldier who murdered 3 women in Australia during World War II.
Early Life And Crimes
Born to Russian immigrants living in America, Leonski hated his mother, who was overprotective and controlling. He was also consistently bullied by other pupils at his local school. In 1941, he was conscripted into the US army to fight in the second world war, and arrived in Melbourne the following in year.
On May 3rd, 1942, Ivy Violet McLeod was walking through Albert Park during the night when Leonski attacked her, beat her and strangled her to death. Six days later, Leonski was seen with Pauline Thompson, who was found strangled soon after. The fact that Leonski only killed at night and Australia at the time enforced a "dimmed lighting" policy due to the ongoing war gained him the nickname "the Brownout strangler".
On the night of May 18, Leonski was seen approaching Gladys Hosking and asking her for directions. This was the last time she was seen alive, as Leonski strangled her when no-one was around. Leonski also began assaulting women, however this proved to be his downfall as they were able to provide detailed descriptions to the police. Survivors of the assault and people who had seen Leonski with Thompson and Hosking picked him out of an identity parade and he was charged under US military law.
Trial And Punishment
After being brought to trial Leonski confessed, stating that he "wanted to get their voices", which earned him the nickname "the singing strangler". His confession resulted in an easy conviction, and a general court martial sentenced him to death. General Douglas MacArthur confirmed the sentence, and personally signed the order sentencing Leonski. He was hanged on the 9th of November, 1942.
Although Leonski himself stated that he killed the women to get their voices, a psychiatrist who assessed him came up with another theory. He believes that the horrible treatment Leonski received at the hands of his mother caused him to grow up hating women, and as a result he began murdering them. This suggests that Leonski may have in fact been a misogynist.