Born in 1938, Ms. Harvey spent her youth in New York as the child of a single mother. Even as a teenager, she displayed a propensity for violence, especially towards women, and had a complicated gender identity. According to court records and parole board records, Ms Harvey was cared for in Catholic charities, which linked clergy and laity with troubled children, after the attempted rape at 14 year.
As a young adult, Ms Harvey – described then as a tall, thin man – lived with her mother and earned $75 a week running photocopiers. She had a girlfriend, Jacqueline Bonds, but her life was chaotic: Mrs. Harvey drank often, took cocaine, regularly assaulted Mrs. Bonds and went back and forth in psychiatric care.
In early 1963, Mrs. Harvey was again charged with rape, this time at the age of 24. (The allegations are mentioned by a parole officer in a court record, which offers no further details.)
The prosecution sparked a spasm of violence: In April, Ms Harvey killed Ms Bonds, who was due to appear before a grand jury hearing the case. Ms Harvey shot her at point-blank range in their crowded Manhattan apartment, chased her as she staggered through the kitchen and living room, and shot her twice more before collapsing, according to the lawsuits – minutes of the board of directors and a police report.
She was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life.
During two decades behind bars, she repeatedly appealed her conviction in state and federal courts and tried to persuade the parole board to release her. Skeptical officials as early as 1984 cited his aggressiveness towards women. Even in prison, one noted, Ms Harvey had sent inappropriate letters to volunteers at Candy Striper Hospital.
“It’s in the past, and when I realized this pattern was being created, I cut it,” Ms Harvey said.