Ex-Con Convicted Of Strangling Hollywood Pen Pal
Harry Major was found dead in his apartment in a suspected homicide (Screengrab via KTLA) An ex-con was found guilty today of murdering his pen pal in Hollywood.
Scott Kratlian, 46, had written letters back and forth with 82-year-old Harry Major while he was locked up in a New York prison, KTLA reports. Shortly after Kratlian's release in 2014, Major—who once taught English at Hollywood High School—was found strangled to death in the bathtub of his condo in the 1400 block of North Vista Street in Hollywood. Kratlian traveled to Los Angeles and moved in with Major after he was released from prison, living with him for about 10 days. Investigators later found Major's blood on a pair of Kratlian's shoes.
He was convicted of first-degree murder today by a jury after three hours of deliberation, and will be sentenced on November 18. He is looking at 56 years to life in prison.
Major had hired Steve Schulte to prepare his will, according to LA Weekly. Schulte said that Major wasn't interested in a funeral, telling him, "No memorial, no funeral. Just burn the carcass."
Schultz also said he later found that Major had written to a number of prisoners, oftentimes exchanging explicit photos and words. Major also let various men, like Kratlian, stay in his home after their release. A friend of Major's told LA Weekly that he saw himself as something of a "transition point" for ex-cons.
Kratlian had spent 21 years in prison after being convicted of strangling 66-year-old Salvatore Caggiano with a belt and leaving his body in a bathtub, like Major. Kratlian claimed that Caggiano had molested him when he was a child, but could offer no evidence.
Another man, James DiRocco, told LA Weekly that he had stayed with Major after serving 17 years for robbing a video store, and was living with Major at the time of Krakian's arrival. He never liked Kratlian, and ended up taking off a few days after his arrival. He said that Major was very clear about the criteria for being one of his prisoner friends.
"Even straight guys, Harry would tell them, the only way they would stay there is if he had sex with him. That's the rules. He would be very upfront with his pen pals."
DiRocco claimed that Kratlian once tried to strangle him after an argument.