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Serial rapist, killer gets life in prison

Sat., April 2, 2011

LOS ANGELES – A former insurance claims adjuster who was suspected of terrorizing women in the 1970s as the Westside Rapist has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for seven murders that were committed in two waves of killings and sexual assaults.

John Floyd Thomas Jr., 74, sat with his hands manacled to a waist chain and used sheets of paper to shield his face from a photographer as he was sentenced for the killings that took place in a swath stretching from Inglewood to Claremont in the Los Angeles area.

Detectives describe Thomas as one of the region’s most prolific serial killers, saying that he remains a suspect in at least 10 to 15 additional slayings, based on the dates of the crimes and his method of killing.

Police said the attacks targeted women who ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s, many of whom lived alone. The killer broke into their homes at night and raped and choked his victims until they passed out or died.

Thomas’ sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors that Deputy District Attorney Rachel Moser Greene described as “an act of pragmatism” rather than “an act of mercy.”

She noted that capital punishment was not legal in California when all but one of the killings Thomas admitted to were committed.


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