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Westside Rapist Sentenced to Life in Prison in 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 was sentenced for the killings that took place in a area stretching from Inglewood to Claremont. Police describe him as one of the California's most prolific serial killers, saying that he is still a suspect in at least 10 to 15 additional murders.

Police said the sexual attacks targeted women who ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s, many of whom lived alone. He broke into their homes at night and raped and choked his victims until they passed out or died. His sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors that was 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. She said the death penalty would not have been relevant in this case because Thomas would probably die in prison during his appeals, given his age.

Thomas was born in Los Angeles and was raised by an aunt and his godmother after his mother died when he was 12. He attended public schools, and briefly joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956. At Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, he received a dishonorable discharge. The next year, he was convicted of burglary and attempted rape, which put him in prison for nearly almost 10 years. After his release, police noticed a string of assaults on elderly white women. The attacker was dubbed the Westside Rapist at the time.

The attacks appeared to stop in 1978, when Thomas was convicted and sentenced to prison for the rape of a Pasadena woman. After his release in 1983, he moved to Chino, coinciding with a wave of rapes and killings that began in the Pomona Valley area.

The Westside Rapist faded from public memory and authorities made limited progress in the Claremont killings until 2004, when the LAPD matched male DNA taken from two of the crime scenes. The final break in the case came in October 2008, when two officers collected DNA from Thomas while trying to identify the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer, who was linked to homicides in South Los Angeles starting in the 1980s. Several months later, detectives learned that Thomas' genetic profile matched DNA evidence from four of the killings he admitted in court.

Police will conduct an intensive investigation following a murder or sexual assault. Therefore, if you are criminally charged, you will need a skilled criminal defense attorney from Marks & Brooklier. Criminal defense lawyers  Donald Marks and  Anthony Brooklier have been successfully representing clients for murder and rape charges for decades. They have the experience necessary to provide you with skilled criminal defense in all Los Angeles County Courts. It takes a dedicated legal team to fight a murder or sexual assault charge, and with our firm you can feel condifent that we will provide you with the highest quality criminal defense team. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are aggressive in the court room and look forward to defending your case. Contact us for a free case consultation.

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