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Police: City's most prolific killer caught

April 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles Police said they have caught the worst serial killer in Southern California history. Officers held a press conference Wednesday to announce the arrest of 72-year-old John Floyd Thomas. Investigators said Thomas is a suspect in at least 25 killings that started in the 1950's and ended in the 80's.

Thomas is currently only being charged with two counts of murder, but LAPD Chief William Bratton said DNA evidence will likely connect him with the other murders and dozens of rapes.

At the time of the crime spree the alleged suspect was known as the Westside Rapist. Officers said he targeted white women ranging in age from their 50's into their 90's.

"We believe that Thomas is likely connected to many more sexually motivated murders including many that happened during the mid 70's," said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck. "The majority of these crimes occurred in the divisions of Hollywood, Wilshire, and the Rampart area."

Thomas spent time in prison for rape charges in the 50's and parole violations in the 60's, but officers said rape laws were more lenient then.

"The penalties for these kind of crimes would have never allowed Mr. Thomas to be out in this day and age, which is a very good thing," said Beck.

Investigators said the attacks stopped in 1989, when Thomas began working at the State Compensation Insurance Fund in Glendale. A spokeswoman for the state said Thomas was hired before there were mandatory criminal background checks.


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