This one’s just as bizarre as it is tragic: according to an article today by the LA Times, a New York parolee is accused of murdering an 82-year-old man after developing a friendship with him over their shared love of “General Hospital.”
According to the article, Scott Kratlian was a member of a “General Hospital” fan club and wrote with “GH” fans while imprisoned at the Marcy Correctional Facility outside Syracuse, New York. Kratlian was there after being convicted of a gruesome and violent murder in 1992, in which he beat and burned his victim. He spent two decades behind bars but was released this past November under New York’s conditional release program. Within three months, Kratlian traveled to Los Angeles and began asking his “GH” pen-pals for help with money and for a place to stay. It is during this time that he allegedly strangled his 82-year-old pen-pal, Harry Major, to death.
The police were called after Major failed to show up to a brunch the next day. Major had told his friends about Kratlian and they relayed that information to the police after Major’s body was found. According to the police, Kratlian and Major had been seen together shortly before his death and Kratlian had apparently used Major’s credit cards after his death.
Kratlian was arrested by an LAPD and FBI fugitive task force after he was found at a Pasadena mental health and substance abuse center on February 18.
Now Kratlian’s other “GH” pen-pals are considering themselves lucky. “I don’t know why I started writing him; it was a really dumb decision,” said fellow pen-pal Jason Ward to the LA Times. “I only wrote to him a handful of times because he got really weird.” Ward had been introduced to Kratlian through his former employer, an elderly Los Angeles woman. She had connected with Kratlian (who also went by the name Scott Porter) through a “General Hospital” newsletter as well and had been communicating with him for years. In early February, Kratlian shocked the woman by showing up at her doorstep and asking for a place to stay. The frightened woman told Kratlian to leave. The next day, Major had been murdered.
“I was assuming he was writing to a whole network of people,” Ward told the LA Times. “I didn’t think he was going to get out.”
Kratlian has pleaded not guilty to murder and is being held without bail. If Kratlian is convicted, he could face up to 56 years to life in prison.