LA Cops Arrest Suspected Serial Killer From '70s, '80s

72-year-old may have killed 30 women
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 5:57 PM CDT
LA Cops Arrest Suspected Serial Killer From '70s, '80s
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton shows a map of murder victim.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Los Angeles police say a 72-year-old insurance claims adjuster may in fact be the city's "most prolific serial killer," the Los Angeles Times reports. The suspect, John Floyd Thomas, may have killed up to 30 older women and raped scores more during two separate rampages in the 1970s and 1980s, police say. He has been charged with two murders, and newly examined DNA evidence has linked him to three others so far.

Thomas is thought to be responsible for the mid-'70s reign of terror by the so-called Westside Rapist. Victims ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s. The killings stopped when Thomas was sent to prison in 1978 for a rape in Pasadena, then resumed when he got out in 1983. He escaped scrutiny in the days before DNA testing. The break came when Thomas gave a DNA sample last fall as part of a program to swab all sex offenders. (More crime stories.)

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