EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 12, 2013

DNA links Boston Strangler suspect to serial killings

Suspected of murdering two in Lawrence 50 years ago

(Continued)

Were all of the crimes connected? Several similarities suggested they were.

All of the women, including Graff and Brown, were murdered in their apartments, had been sexually molested and were strangled with articles of clothing. With no signs of forced entry, the women appeared to know their assailant, or, at least, voluntarily let him into their homes.

All the women were respectable citizens who led quiet, modest lives.

Questions remain

An attorney for DeSalvo’s family said yesterday they believe there’s still reasonable doubt he killed Sullivan, even if additional DNA tests show a 100 percent match.

The lawyer, Elaine Sharp, said previous private forensic testing of Sullivan’s remains showed other DNA was present that didn’t match DeSalvo’s.

“Somebody else was there, we say,” Sharp said of the killing. “I don’t think the evidence is a hundred percent solid, as is being represented here today.”

But Donald Hayes, a forensic scientist who heads the Boston Police Department’s crime lab, said investigators’ samples were properly preserved, while the evidence used in private testing came from Sullivan’s exhumed body and was “very questionable.”

Sharp also said Thursday that the family was outraged that police followed a DeSalvo relative to get the DNA they needed for comparison.

The families of DeSalvo and Sullivan had jointly sued the state for release of evidence while pursuing their own investigation. Sullivan’s body was exhumed in 1999 for private DNA testing as part of the effort.

F. Lee Bailey, the attorney who helped to obtain the confession from DeSalvo, said yesterday’s announcement will probably help put to rest speculation over the Boston Strangler’s identity.

Bailey had been representing another inmate who informed the attorney that DeSalvo knew details of the crimes. Bailey went to police with the information, and he said DeSalvo, who was already in prison for other crimes, demonstrated he knew details only the killer would know.

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