Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Christine Emerson
Observer Staff Writer 

Spiderman burglar convicted of 1972 Hollywood murder

70-year-old Harold Holman serving a lifetime sentence.

 

Harold Holman is no 70 years old wanted for murder that took place 50 years go

​A 70-year-old man, currently serving a 45-year sentence for murders and burglaries, was convicted of the first-degree 1972 murder of Helen Meyler in Hollywood.

​Harold Holman was known during the 1980s at the "Spider Man burglar" to law enforcement. He was originally arrested in 1975 after Los Angeles police observed him scale the outside of a 14-story apartment building and then move from balcony to balcony. After his incarceration for this burglary, he resumed his criminal activity.

​Meyler was a widow who lived alone on the second floor of a secured apartment building. She was found dead in her bed, apparently killed by a blunt object. She'd been sexually assaulted and her apartment robbed. DNA evidence from a blanket found at the scene was used by LAPD's Cold Case unit to link Holman to the crime.

​During an interview with police detectives while he was in state prison in December 2014, Holman admitted to similar crimes, including the January 1980 deaths of an elderly Santa Monica couple, Gertrude and Otto Forst. They were found bludgeoned to death in their eighth-floor unit.

​Holman was involved in several other burglaries, including one in which he shot and killed a woman's dachshund and another in which the female victim locked herself in a bathroom and screamed for help. In the latter situation, a K-9 team led an LAPD team in a manhunt to apprehend Holman.

​With this additional conviction, Holman faces up to life in prison.

Meyler was known in her neighborhood in the 1970s as an elegantly dressed older woman, who kept cats and was kind to neighborhood children.

 

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