West Side Serial Rapist / Killer Gets 7 Life Sentences


John Floyd Thomas JR

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 74-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to the killings of seven women in the Southland in the 1970s and 1980s and was immediately sentenced to seven life prison terms, one without the possibility of parole.

John Floyd Thomas Jr. pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree murder. His victims ranged in age from 56 to 80 years old. Los Angeles police also believe Thomas is responsible for two dozen or so sexual assaults.

Thomas was initially charged April 2, 2009, with murdering Ethe Sokoloff, 68, on Nov. 25, 1972, in her Mid-Wilshire home, and Elizabeth McKeown, 67, in Westchester some time between Feb. 15-18, 1976.

Los Angeles police said then that he had been linked to the two killings through DNA evidence, but were looking into as many as two dozen other murders and rapes that occurred between 1955 and 1978.

Later in 2009, Thomas was charged with five additional killings involving three women who lived in Inglewood, one who lived in the Lennox area and one who resided in Claremont — killed between September 1975 and June 1986, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Thomas was arrested March 31, 2009.

Article

Police believe John Floyd Thomas Jr, 72, may be responsible for up to 25 killings in two waves of sex murders that terrorised southern California in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Thomas, a claims adjuster with two previous convictions for sexual assault, was arrested at his flat in South Los Angeles on March 31 after police used newly available DNA technology to solve “cold cases”.

He was charged with the murder of Ethel Sokoloff, 68, in 1972 and Elizabeth McKeown, 67, in 1976.

But officials say that his DNA has been traced to at least five murder scenes spanning two waves of sex killings that were previously thought to be unrelated.

In both waves, the victims were elderly white women.

The first wave of killings, attributed to the so-called “Westside Rapist,” claimed the lives of 17 women ranging in age from the 50s to the 90s.

The women were attacked in a swathe of Los Angeles running from Hollywood to Inglewood. The killer strangled his victims as he raped them and left them dead with pillows or blankets covering their faces.

The murders stopped in 1978 – the same year a witness copied down Mr Thomas’s car licence number after he raped a woman in Pasadena and was sent to jail.

The second wave began after his release in 1983. Five more elderly white women were raped and strangled in the Claremont area, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and left with their faces covered.

The killings stopped the same year that Mr Thomas took a job with the state workers’ compensation agency in Glendale.

Even though more than 20 women survived attacks, police did not link the two waves of killings because witnesses gave differing descriptions of the assailant and DNA technology was not in use.

The investigations languished until the Los Angeles Police Department established a Cold Case Homicide Unit in 2001 and began using new DNA techniques to examine 9,000 unsolved killings dating back to 1960.

In 2004, the crime lab matched male DNA taken from the McKeown and Sokoloff killings but could not identify a suspect in the state database.

The break came in October when Mr Thomas was required to give a DNA sample as part of a programme to swab convicted sex offenders. His DNA was allegedly matched to the McKeown and Sokoloff samples as well as a 1975 Los Angeles murder, a 1976 Inglewood murder, and a Claremont killing in 1986.

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Police said the former insurance claims adjuster who was born in Los Angeles and attended Manual Arts High School, targeted women ranging in age from their 50s to their 90s, breaking into their homes at night to rape and choke his victims.

After being dishonorable discharged from the U.S. Air Force he was sent to jail for nearly ten years after being convicted of burglary and attempted rape, Following his release, “authorities noticed a string of assaults on elderly white women, reports the LA Times. In 1978, when Thomas was convicted and sentenced to prison again, this time for the rape of a Pasadena woman, the Westside attacks appeared to stop. He moved to Chino after his release in 1983, “coinciding with a wave of rapes and killings that began in the Pomona Valley area.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Rachel Moser Greene described Thomas’ sentence as “an act of pragmatism” rather than “an act of mercy,” notes the LA Times.

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I am betting that there are women sleeping much better now.

Thomas’ prosecutor, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Rachel Moser Greene, said the decision to not seek the death penalty against Thomas was approved at the highest levels of her office.

She said that because of Floyd’s advanced age and the lengthy appeals process for inmates sentenced to death, Floyd would likely reach age 100 before being executed.

A sentence of life without parole “achieves the same end, pragmatically speaking,” as a death sentence, Greene said.

“He’s going to be denied his liberty until nature takes its course,” Greene said.

I understand that. It makes sense to not push for the D.P. in this case. He will still be a draw on tax payers maybe even more so because of his age, but hopefully his heart will give out soon.

Before people think I am too hard and too cold remember what he did.

Prosecutors eventually charged Thomas with seven counts of murder for slayings committed between 1972 and 1986. Most of the the victims, who ranged in age from 56 to 80, were also sexually assaulted.

Police said Floyd targeted older women who lived alone. He would break into their homes, rape them, then strangle them to death while obscuring their faces with bedding such as a sheet or pillow.

Floyd’s DNA sample was obtained in October 2008 by investigators who were building a DNA database of sex offenders.

Floyd had twice been convicted of sexual assault, most recently in 1978 for the rape of a Pasadena woman.

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This is not some sweet old grandpa here.  This is a cold blooded killer who targeted weaker older woman. He is a predator. Society tried to ‘reform’ him before and it did not work.

Source

Bonnie’s Blog of Crime has more links. It is also where I got the list of known victims from.

Known Victims

Elizabeth McKeown, 67 [1976]
Ethel Sokoloff, 68 [1972]
Cora Perry, 79 [1975]
Maybelle Hudson, 80 [1976]
Miriam McKinley, 65 [1976]
Evalyn Bunner, 56 [1976]
Adrienne Askew, 56 [1986]

 

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