Timothy Wayne Krajcir (1 Viewer)


Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 9
Date of murders: 1977 - 1982
Date of arrest: August 29, 2007
Date of birth: November 28, 1944
Victims profile: Women
Method of murder: Shooting / Strangulation
Location: Illinois/Missouri/Kentucky/Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentence to life in prison in Illinois and Missouri on 2008

Timothy Krajcir (born c. 1944) is a convicted American serial killer from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has confessed to killing over nine women, five in Missouri and four others in Illinois and Pennsylvania.


After a stint in the Navy, Krajcir first entered the Illinois prison system in 1963 on a rape conviction. Since then, he has spent most of his adult life behind bars for sex crimes, except for a brief period of freedom in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Krajcir has been incarcerated since 1982.


Krajcir would travel to various towns that he had no connection to, stalk his victims, and then break into their homes and wait for them to arrive. In 1977, Krajcir was released from prison after serving time for rape when he enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a condition of his parole. There, in 1981, he earned a degree in Administrative Justice with a minor in psychology which taught him how police investigated crimes. Ironically, Krajcir used this knowledge to elude police for decades.

The victims were often found in their beds, bound, raped and shot in the head, often with little evidence to connect any of the murders together or to any one person.

He was finally connected to a murder because of DNA evidence left at the crime scene, which at the time, was still considered new technology and not available. Krajcir was sentenced on December 10, 2007 to 40 years in prison for the 1982 killing of Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Deborah Sheppard and, in addition, has been charged with five counts of murder and three counts of rape against women in the Cape Girardeau area from 1977 to 1982.

On January 18, 2008, Krajcir pleaded guilty and was sentenced to another 40 years in prison for the 1978 killing of Marion resident Virginia Lee Witte. The new sentence will be served consecutively with the 40 year sentence he received in December 2007.

Krajcir is currently held at the Tamms Correctional Facility, Tamms, Illinois.

Known and suspected victims

Deborah Sheppard

Mary Parsh

Brenda Parsh, 27

Sheila Cole

Virginia Lee Witte

Myrtle Rupp, 51

Joyce Tharp, 29

Mildred Wallace, 65

Margie Call, 57


Krajcir was finally connected to a murder because of DNA evidence left at the crime scene, which at the time, was still considered new technology and not available. Krajcir was sentenced on December 10, 2007 to 40 years in prison for the 1982 killing of Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Deborah Sheppard and, in addition, has been charged with five counts of murder and three counts of rape against women in the Cape Girardeau area from 1977 to 1982.

On January 18, 2008, Krajcir pleaded guilty and was sentenced to another 40 years in prison for the 1978 killing of Marion resident Virginia Lee Witte. The new sentence will be served consecutively with the 40-year sentence he received in December 2007.

On April 4, 2008, Krajcir pleaded guilty to the murder of five women in Cape Girardeau, to seven sexual assaults, and one robbery. He was then sentenced to an additional 13 consecutive life terms. Relatives of the victims agreed to the plea bargain, which took the death penalty off the table.

At his sentencing in April, Krajcir stated, "I don't know if I could have been so generous if I were in the same situation. Thank you for sparing my life."

Krajcir is currently held at the Tamms Correctional Center located in Tamms, Illinois.

Inmate charged with 1982 murder

Friday, August 31, 2007

CARBONDALE — Timothy W. Krajcir, 62, was arrested and charged with four counts of murder this week for the 1982 slaying of Deborah Sheppard, Jackson County court documents show.

Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Wepsiec filed a motion for an arrest warrant Tuesday and a judge granted that motion Wednesday. A press conference is slated for 2:30 p.m. today at the Carbondale Civic Center, where Carbondale Police and the state’s attorney are expected to release further details regarding the man arrested for a murder that occurred 25 years ago.

On April 8, 1982, a friend entered the South Graham Street apartment of Sheppard, a 23-year-old marketing senior from Olympia Fields, near Chicago, to find her naked body lying on her bedroom floor. At the time of Sheppard’s murder, police reported that a telephone cord in the living room was cut and a window in Sheppard’s bedroom had been removed. Police initially said there were no signs of foul play or struggle, but then attributed the murder to the person who entered her apartment that day.

There are no details at this time as to the connection between Sheppard and Krajcir.

Court documents list Krajcir’s address as the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina. The Illinois Department of Corrections shows that Krajcir was taken in to custody August 1979 with an offense that listed him as a “sexually dangerous person.” The Jackson County court Web site shows Krajcir does not have a prior criminal history in the county. At this time, there are no details as to when or whether Krajcir will be transferred to the Jackson County Jail in Murphysboro.

Krajcir is being charged with four counts of murder for his alleged involvement in Sheppard’s slaying. Court documents claim he “strangled Deborah Sheppard with his hands, thereby causing the death of Deborah Sheppard.” Another count states Krajcir strangled Sheppard “while committing a forcible felony rape.”

There were three copies of the counts against Krajcir in the court file, one of which was stamped in “Defendant’s Copy,” in red ink.

After Sheppard’s death, two autopsies were conducted. The first showed Sheppard died of a pulmonary edema or fluid in the lungs. The second autopsy, which took place in Chicago, revealed compressions in Sheppard’s neck and back, indicating suffocation or strangulation.

Police said there were suspects at the time of the Sheppard’s murder, although no arrests were made.

Sheppard was one of three Chicago-area women murdered in Carbondale during the early 1980s. Susan Schumake, a 21-year SIUC radio-television junior from Chicago Heights, was killed August 1981 in a grassy area near U.S. 51 and the railroad tracks. Joan Wetherall, 30, a former SIUC student from Elmhurst, was found June 1981 strangled and nude June in an isolated area of Carbondale.

Both of those murders have been solved. Two years after Wetherall’s murder, John Paul Phillips told a cellmate he killed Wetherall and two other women. He was convicted of Wetherall’s murder and sentenced to death in 1986. While on death row, he died of a heart attack in 1993.

Police initially looked to Phillips in Schumake’s case. His body was exhumed when DNA technology advanced and allowed police to compare DNA from Phillips’ femur to DNA from the murder scene. They did not match.

Nearly 25 years after Schumake’s murder, more technological advances were made and police were able to link DNA from a cigarette butt in the car of Daniel Woloson, of Michigan, to DNA from the murder scene of Schumake. Woloson was arrested in 2004, convicted in 2006 and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Court documents did not list a first court appearance for Krajcir.

Illinois inmate Timothy Krajcir confesses to 5 unsolved Cape murders

Brenda and Mary Parsh. Sheila Cole. Margie Call. Mildred Wallace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Timothy W. Krajcir has confessed to all of them.

Krajcir pleaded guilty this morning to the 1982 rape and murder of Deborah Sheppard, a Southern Illinois University-Carbondale student. It was a crime that had gone unsolved for over two decades. With his admission of guilt in the Sheppard killing, police prepare to close the books on five other unsolved murders here in Cape Girardeau.

For the past two decades, the unresolved killings haunted the town as detectives worked endless hours, trying to piece together the evidence and answer the questions that plagued law enforcement, family members and residents.

"I cannot think of anything we failed to do," said Lt. John Brown, now a campus police officer at Southeast Missouri State University, who had been lead detective on the homicides.

At one point, police even had a witness, who believed he had seen Cole's car cross the bridge into Illinois, hypnotized to see how much detail they could recall, Brown said.

In 2003, some semen samples found at the scenes of the Call and Wallace murders were tested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab, and failed to pinpoint a suspect because there was not enough usable genetic material to get a DNA profile.

At that time, Cape Girardeau detective Tracy Lemonds said a confession to the killings may be the last hope, the Southeast Missourian reported.

This past summer, Cape Girardeau police detective Jim Smith took over investigating the unsolved homicides full time.

Then, this November, at Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina, Il., where Krajcir has been incarcerated for the last 10 years, the suspect provided Smith with details only the killer would know as he described raping Brenda Parsh, Cole, Call, and Wallace.

Police refused to elaborate on what it was Krajcir said that convinced them they had finally caught the killer.

After DNA evidence tied Krajcir to the Sheppard murder, Smith realized the killing occurred between the murders of Call, on Jan. 27, and Wallace, on June 21, 1982. He contacted the Carbondale police department to inquire about whether Krajcir could have visited Cape Girardeau during those months.

At first, it seemed like another dead end.

"At that point, nothing linked Krajcir to anything in Missouri," said Lt. Paul Echols of the Carbondale police department.

Most of the details of the Sheppard murder did not match up with the way the other women had been killed, leaving police little to go on in tying Krajcir to the unsolved homicides, Echols said.

After DNA proved with a one-in-a-980 billion match that Krajcir killed Sheppard, Carbondale police continued to gather evidence against him - and that's when law enforcement began to suspect he may have committed some crimes outside of Carbodale, Echols said.

Based on the way Sheppard was murdered, Echols developed a profile of the way Krajcir killed, and submitted it to surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Then, Cape Girardeau detective Tracy Lemonds compared the profile to an unsolved rape dating back to 1982. The details were identical to the rape of Sheppard.

"That's when we knew we were onto something," Echols said.

Now, police had something solid to go on: a strong suspect they could place in Cape Girardeau around the time of the string of killings, police chief Carl Kinnison said.

A DNA sample was obtained from the Wallace crime scene and preserved. Lemonds was an evidence technician at the time and distinctly remembers collecting the sample.

Smith was sitting at his desk at the Cape Girardeau police department when he got the call from the crime lab in Jefferson City: They had a match.

"It brought tears to my eyes," Smith said.

Kinnison described the analysis as a "cannot exclude match." According to Echols, that's about a one-in-720,000 match.

A few weeks later, Lemonds received a call from a former evidence technician with whom he had worked the Call and Wallace crime scenes and now is a crime analyst with the Southeast Missouri Crime lab.

He wanted Lemonds to look at a palm print that had been lifted from the Wallace's home, and compared to one taken from Krajcir.

That was the moment when Lemonds said he knew they had found their killer.

Smith immediately arranged to interview Krajcir.

The 63-year-old former ambulance driver politely denied everything, said Smith.

He said he had never met Wallace, broke into her house or waited for her to get home, Kinnison said.

"The next best thing to a confession is a provable lie," said prosecuting attorney Morley Swingle.

The palm print and DNA evidence tied him to the Wallace killing, and Swingle intended to see the death penalty in the case, he said.

Then Krajcir mentioned he would be willing to listen to what police had to say about the other killings in the area if he knew death penalty was off the table.

"He said, 'I have nothing to live for, I'll be in prison for the rest of my life, but I don't have a death wish either,'" said Smith.

Swingle said he was set against the idea of agreeing to the arrangement, even to learn new information about the other murders, until he met with the surviving family members of the victims.

"They all agreed they'd rather find out the truth about what happened than seek the death penalty and have him take it to his grave," said Swingle.

He sent a letter to the prison, explaining that he would not seek the death penalty for the rape and murder of Wallace if Krajcir could provide accurate and detailed information leading to the resolution of the other unsolved murders.

Aware of the danger that Krajcir may falsely confess to the other murders simply to avoid the death penalty, Swingle said he insisted that Krajcir be able to provide information he could not have possibly learned from another source.

He did not seem to show much remorse, Smith said.

Krajcir admitted to raping Brenda Parsh, Cole, Call, and Wallace, but a legal technicality will bar rape charges from being filed in the Parsh and Cole homicides, because the statute of limitations has run out, Swingle said.

According to a Nov. 21, 1977 Southeast Missourian article, autopsy reports said Cole had not been sexually assaulted.

There is no statute of limitations on any class A felony in Missouri, but it wasn't until 1980 that rape became a class A felony, so Krajcir cannot be charged for the 1977 rapes, Swingle said.

Brown said he was thrilled to learn about the arrest, although it seemed odd to think that if the case went to trial, he would have nothing to testify about, despite the investigation having occupied a constant presence in his mind since he was assigned the Parsh homicide in 1977.

"As I entered the pearly gates, I was going to ask St. Peter who did those killings," he said.

Suspect Timothy Krajcir has long history of crime, sexual deviancy

Monday, December 10, 2007

Before he killed in Cape Girardeau, he raped in Pennsylvania.

Timothy W. Krajcir is 63 years old now, a confessed serial killer, a convicted rapist.

He's from a small Pennsylvania town called Laury's Station.

According to a psychologist letter sent to a Pennsylvania courthouse in July of 1983, he was raised by a single mother. Abandoned by his father at birth. Moved at least a dozen times in his early childhood.

His mother had been cold and unaffectionate. The letter says he hated her.

During his teen years, he described himself as a shy, introverted young man who by the age of 14 had developed voyeuristic habits. He wore feminine clothing. Fondled women in public.

A therapist once told him he acted out his anger towards his mother by committing violence against other women. Following the rapes, he would have intense sexual fantasies about his victims, the letter said.

He joined the Navy and later relocated to the Carbondale area of Southern Illinois. It was around that time, in 1977, when Krajcir began driving an ambulance. Sometimes he would drive the ambulance to Saint Francis Medical Center or Southeast Missouri Hospital. Hiding behind a hero's uniform, Krajcir introduced himself to Cape Girardeau.

And that's where Krajcir began killing, according to police and public documents. Police say Krajcir confessed to five murders in Cape Girardeau. The announcement came at a Dec. 10 media conference.

Krajcir has spent the last 24 years behind bars. He hasn't been a free man since 1983, roughly the time when fear among women in Cape Girardeau hit its peak.

The first murders in Cape Girardeau occurred in 1977 with the slayings of Mary and Brenda Parsh and later Sheila Cole. Then, five years later in 1982, Margie Call and Mildred Wallace were murdered, as well as a woman named Deborah Sheppard, an SIU student from Illinois. Between the killings, Krajcir was in an Illinois prison.

In 1979, after he raped a 13-year-old girl, Krajcir became the first person in Jackson County, Ill., to be committed on the sexually dangerous person statute, according to Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.

By 1982, he was conditionally released. He continued psychiatric treatment, got an EMT license and took classes in criminal justice administration at SIU, according to Cape Girardeau police chief Carl Kinnison. Cape Girardeau detective Jim Smith said Krajcir sought victims in Cape Girardeau during that time because he wanted to avoid committing crimes "in his own backyard."

Six months after Mildred Wallace's body was found, Krajcir returned to Pennsylvania where he committed two bizarre acts of violence toward women.

According to an arrest document signed by Sgt. Harold Boyer of the Allentown Police Department, Krajcir robbed two women at gunpoint, forced them to undress and fondled one of them. According to the document, Krajcir had threatened to kill the victims' family members if the women didn't cooperate. He also stole a change purse from one of the victims.

The following year, Krajcir forced "indecent contact" with another woman and was arrested in a separate incident after police caught him at a shopping center with a .25-caliber blue steel automatic pistol. Because of prior conviction, police arrested him on weapons charges, but he was linked to the previous crimes.

He was charged with theft, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, indecent exposure, criminal trespass, aggravated assault, indecent assault , making terroristic threats and firearms violations. Krajcir was convicted of those crimes, but before he was sentenced, he was injured while trying to escape Lehigh County Prison. He and another inmate tied bed sheets together to form a rope, according to court documents. The other convict escaped, Krajcir slipped, injured himself and was caught.

He was sentenced for up to five years with the specific directive that prison officials be advised that he needed continuous psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment. He was moved to an Ina, Ill. prison in 1988, called Big Muddy River Correctional Center on the civil commitment under the sexually violent predator statute.

Lt. Paul Echols, of the Carbondale police department, interviewed Krajcir on many occasions concerning the Deborah Sheppard killing.

"He's a likeable person. You're sitting there talking to him, and you know all the evil that he's done in his life, but it's just hard to believe," Echols said.

Prison guards described Kracjir as an exceptional athlete, and easy to get along with, Echols said.

He also spoke with some women who used to work with Krajcir, and they said he had seemed like a "sweet guy."

In 1977, a group of psychologists from Saint Francis Mental Health Clinic painted a different picture as they assisted detectives in creating a personality profile of the type of person they suspected may have committed the Parsh homicide.

The conclusion reached was that the killer had slain the mother and daughter in a revenge-type murder, according to a police memorandum dated Aug. 30, 1977.

The individual or individuals were considered to have an "obsessive compulsive personality and generally not deal well with other people," the letter said.

Parts of the profile matched Krajcir, and parts did not, which is typical of such analysis, police said.

Timothy Krajcir: Inside the Mind of a Serial Rapist and Murderer

Dec 12, 2007

As might be expected, Timothy Krajcir, who authorities announced earlier this week has confessed to nine cold-case killings in Missouri, Illinois and one other jurisdiction, did not have a good childhood.

“His lack of stability was accentuated by a mother who he describes as cold and unaffectionate,” states a 1983 psychological profile (click on image at right to download) that was submitted to a Pennsylvania court by Dr. Paul Gross and obtained by the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau. “In therapy, he was told that he hates his mother and does remember that, during the mid-sixties, he did feel much hatred for her.”

On Monday Krajcir, who has been in and out of prison since 1963 and has been continuously incarcerated since 1983 because of his history of sexual deviance, pleaded guilty in Jackson County Court in Murphysboro, Illinois, to the 1982 slaying of Deborah Sheppard, who at the time was a student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Hours later law enforcement officials announced that Krajcir had also confessed to a string of murders that terrorized the city of Cape Girardeau in 1977 and 1982, as well as three slayings in another jurisdiction.

Among his victims in Cape Girardeau: Mary Parsh and her daughter Brenda Parsh, Sheila Cole, Margie Call and Mildred Wallace. Although Cape Girardeau Police Chief Carl Kinnison said that Krajcir had also confessed to three slayings in another jurisdiction, he declined to elaborate.

Gross submitted the psychological portrait of Krajcir after the inmate was charged with breaking into a house in an attempted rape. According to documents filed in Pennsylvania court, the attempted rape was thwarted when the victims called the police. According to court documents, Krajcir then threatened the victims and masturbated in front of them.

Gross’ letter then goes on to detail Krajcir’s “long history of sexual deviancy,” stating that Krajcir, raised by his mother, “became shy and introverted during his adolescence and remembers...fondling women in public and wearing feminine clothing.”

According to Gross’ letter, Krajcir spent thirteen years in an Illinois prison on a 1963 rape sentence. Gross states that during the rape, Krajcir “did stab his victim.” In 1979 -- two years after he’d killed three of his victims in Cape Girardeau -- he was found guilty in Illinois of raping a thirteen-year-old girl.

Though Krajcir was deemed a “sexually dangerous person” and could legally have remained incarcerated until he convinced authorities that he’d been rehabilitated, he was paroled two years later in 1981.

Once paroled -- and presumably after killing and raping Margie Call and Mildred Wallace in 1982 -- Krajcir transferred his parole to Pennsylvania, where an attempted rape led to Gross’ psychological evaluation.

Gross, who at the time did not know the extent of Krajcir’s crimes, noted that he was a “cold, detached man” who “feels ‘no remorse’ for what he has done.”

“He somehow tries to justify his behavior on his past childhood experiences and once was told by a therapist that he is action out his anger towards his mother on other women,” wrote Gross. “His rapes have been proceeded [sic] by intense fantasies of sexual abuse and rape on women.”

Gross closes by stating, “Other than his sexual deviancies, Mr. Krajcir shows no evidence of any psychiatric illness.”

Once he was released from prison in Pennsylvania, Krajcir was transferred back to Illinois in 1988 on a parole violation and has been held there ever since as a “sexually dangerous person.”

The cold cases first broke when when Lt. Paul Echols of the Carbondale Police Department submitted DNA evidence from the Sheppard crime scene that matched Krajcir.

Noticing the similar time frame between the Sheppard murder and the Missouri killings, Cape Girardeau detective Jimmy Smith contacted Echols about a possible link between Krajcir and the cold cases in Cape Girardeau.

In exchange for Krajcir’s confession, Cape Girardeau prosecuor Morley Swingle agreed to forgo seeking the death penalty. Krajcir now faces multiple life sentences.

Timothy Krajcir a suspect in two more '70s murders

Friday, December 14, 2007

While Cape Girardeau police are re-examining rapes, robberies and home invasions for links to alleged serial killer Timothy Krajcir, two other jurisdictions have said he may be responsible for two more murders.

Krajcir was linked with the 1979 homicide of Myrtle Rupp, 51, in South Temple, Pa., and the 1978 killing of Virginia Lee Witte of Marion, Ill.

On Monday, Krajcir pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Southern Illinois University student Deborah Sheppard in Carbondale, Ill., in 1982 and received a 40-year sentence.

Monday afternoon, Cape Girardeau police announced that Krajcir confessed to murdering five Cape Girardeau women. Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle charged Krajcir with the five murders that occurred between 1977 and 1982, two related rapes and one unrelated rape.

Krajcir is incarcerated in Illinois for continuous civil commitment on a 1979 conviction under the sexually dangerous person statute. He has distanced himself from programs that could help him work toward release because he says he doesn't want to hurt anyone else, prison records show.

Muhlenberg Township, Pa., police reopened Rupp's case several months ago and resubmitted semen samples they obtained from the victim's bedspread to a Pennsylvania State Police lab for testing.

When the DNA evidence was entered into CODIS, the database of DNA from convicted felons, there was a "presumptive hit" linking the case to Krajcir, said Muhlenberg police detective James Pollock.

A detective spent three hours interviewing Krajcir at Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina, Ill., on Wednesday, and the results of that interview will be announced today, Pollock said.

During the interview, a fresh DNA sample from Krajcir was obtained by warrant for new testing, because the state lab requires a newer sample to obtain a definitive match.

According to Years of Tears, a Web site dedicated to unsolved Berks County, Pa., homicides, Rupp was found strangled with a sash cord inside her home in South Temple, Pa.

Sheppard and Margie Call, murdered in 1982 in her Cape Girardeau home, were also strangled.

On Thursday, the Marion, Ill., police department announced Krajcir is "a distinct person of interest" is Witte's murder. David F. Witte found his wife's body in their Lakeview Drive home shortly after 1 p.m. that day. The 51-year-old mother of two was found stabbed; police say she was sexually assaulted.

Illinois legal procedures prevent Marion police from confirming or denying whether Krajcir confessed to Witte's rape and murder.

"He has been interviewed," said Marion police detective Tina Morrow.

Morrow said Witte's two sons were "very, very happy" when she called them to tell them the crime may be solved, but they're not ready to talk to the media.

According to Morrow, Witte's sons said their mother "was a very neat, very classy lady. Good things need to be remembered about her."

She said police are still in the process of checking the extensive files detectives gathered in the case, which include "four large boxes of documents and more than 100 pieces of physical and forensic evidence." Some of the evidence will be resubmitted to police labs for DNA testing, she said.

Lt. Paul Echols of the Carbondale police contacted Morrow while he was investigating Sheppard's murder.

"It's all very complicated, how this fits together," Echols said. "It's a piece here and a piece there."

He praised the diligence of Cape Girardeau police detectives in keeping detailed investigation records, particularly of the 1982 murders of Mildred Wallace and Margie Call. Information in those files is being compared to other cases, he said.

Echols said he's "honestly not sure" how many agencies are reviewing cases potentially linked to Krajcir, but said the FBI, state police agencies in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky as well as a host of county and municipal-level detectives are seeking information on cold cases.

"We've put out the M.O., what to look for," he said.

Morrow said she's contacting retired police detectives who "worked their tails off" trying to solve Witte's murder, as she lines up evidence to support formal criminal charges.

Morrow was among detectives who have recently interviewed Krajcir.

"He's just a little different," she said. "You walk into the room with an open mind and try to collect as much information as possible."

Marion police, with detectives from the Williamson County Sheriff's Department, are also investigating three unsolved sexual assaults and robberies that occurred between March and June in 1982.

News of Krajcir's confession Monday stirred some victims of long-ago crimes to call Cape Girardeau police, looking for connections. Thursday evening, police chief Carl Kinnison said nearly a half-dozen calls came in this week.

"A couple we were able to eliminate completely because of the time frame," he said. Other cases of rape, robbery and home invasion are getting a hard look by detectives.

Kinnison limited his comments on those cases to saying whether more charges will be made against Krajcir depends of the statute of limitations.

Krajcir won't face death in Illinois

Thursday, January 10, 2008

MARION, Ill. -- At alleged serial killer Timothy W. Krajcir's initial court appearance in Williamson County, Ill., on Wednesday afternoon, State's Attorney Charles Garnati waived the death penalty for the two murder counts Krajcir faces for a 1978 murder.

Garnati said the state agreed to take the death penalty off the table because of Krajcir's cooperation in helping authorities solve the murder of Virginia L. Witte, but did not elaborate on his decision.

The first count alleges that Krajcir, 63, murdered Witte, and the second charges him with killing her while committing another felony, that of forcible rape.

Witte was found dead at her Marion home by her husband, David Witte, on May 12, 1978. She had been strangled to death and suffered a severe knife wound.

Witte's two sons were not present at the hearing, but Marion Police Department Detective Tina Morrow said she has been keeping them informed of the case's progress.

"They are excited but not quite sure what to expect," she said.

The Witte family's reaction to learning it was an admitted serial killer who may be responsible for their mother's death was similar to hers, she said: They were shocked.

"We don't have serial killers in Southern Illinois," Morrow said.

More DNA evidence

Though police have collected more than 100 pieces of DNA evidence in connection with the Witte murder, that material has not yet been submitted to the crime lab for analysis in comparison to Krajcir's DNA profile, Morrow said.

She is preparing the evidence and plans to have it submitted soon, she said.

Police are discussing with Garnati when to submit the evidence in connection with the court proceedings, because the state wants the case to progress as quickly as possible because other jurisdictions wait in the wings to prosecute Krajcir. Krajcir faces burglary and kidnapping charges in Paducah, Ky., in connection with the 1979 abduction and killing of Joyce Tharp.

In December, Krajcir was charged with five counts of first-degree murder in Cape Girardeau County for the 1977 killing of Mary and Brenda Parsh and Sheila Cole and the 1982 murders of Margie Call and Mildred Wallace. Krajcir won't be extradited to Missouri until the Illinois case is resolved.

A preliminary hearing in the Witte case is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 18. In the meantime, Krajcir will remain at the supermax prison in Tamms, Ill., on a $1 million bond.

Because the murder charges stem from a crime that occurred in 1978, Krajcir has the choice of facing the relevant law as it existed in 1978, or current laws pertaining to the charges. The two versions of the law have a slight difference in the factors that would affect the length of the sentence, such as the brutality of the crime.

Suspected serial killer uses confessions as bargaining chips

Monday, January 14, 2008

Larry Broeking knows the chances are slim that Timothy Krajcir will ever emerge from prison on anything other than a gurney in a coroner's van.

At age 63, Krajcir's public defender said, the Illinois inmate is in frail health and is newly saddled with a 40-year prison sentence for strangling a college student decades ago. Krajcir also has been adjudged a sexually dangerous person, making it even more unlikely he will ever go free.

Still, Krajcir may have managed to save his life by cashing in what few bargaining chips he has left.

In agreeing to admit last month to the decades-old killings of nine women in Illinois, Missouri and two other states, the man with a long history of sex crimes got assurances that prosecutors would not seek to have him put to death, authorities have said.

And at least in Illinois, Broeking said, Krajcir may be able to avoid harsher prison sentences for murder convictions under existing law and choose to be prosecuted under statutes on the books at the time of the decades-old killings to which he has confessed.

"Odds are that he will die in prison anyway, regardless of what happens now," Broeking said as murder charges continue to mount against Krajcir from Missouri to Pennsylvania.

Krajcir last month pleaded guilty in Jackson County, Ill., to the 1982 rape and murder of Southern Illinois University student Deborah Sheppard and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Just hours later, prosecutors in Cape Girardeau, charged him with killing five women there in 1977 and 1982.

Since those charges, a prosecutor in Williamson County, Ill., has charged Krajcir in the 1978 stabbing death of 51-year-old Virginia Lee Witte.

A grand jury in Paducah, Ky., has indicted Krajcir of kidnapping and burglary counts in the case of 29-year-old Joyce Tharp, who authorities say was abducted from her home in 1979 and killed in Southern Illinois before her body was brought back to Paducah. A Kentucky prosecutor says he won't charge Krajcir in that killing because it appeared to have taken place in Illinois.

And Friday, prosecutors in Reading, Pa. -- Krajcir's home state -- charged him with the 1979 rape and slaying of 51-year-old Myrtle Rupp.

Authorities say DNA evidence implicates Krajcir in many of the killings to which he has now confessed.

Krajcir attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., around the time of the killings.

Krajcir, serving time in the Tamms, Ill., Correctional Center as he awaits being prosecuted first on the new Illinois murder counts, has not replied to written requests in recent weeks to be interviewed by The Associated Press.

Krajcir has spent most of his adult life behind bars for sex crimes. After a stint with the Navy, he first entered the Illinois prison system in 1963 on rape charges. Except for a brief period of freedom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Krajcir has been in prison ever since.

Krajcir was jailed in Illinois in 1979 for having sex with his landlord's 13-year-old daughter. A judge conditionally released him in 1981 and he reportedly returned to Pennsylvania to be with family.

In 1982, Krajcir was arrested on sexual assault charges and served time in a Pennsylvania prison. The crime violated his parole, so after his Pennsylvania term was finished in 1988, he was brought back to Illinois to resume serving the sentence and has been in that state's custody ever since.

Authorities have said Krajcir agreed to admit recently to the killings in Missouri and Illinois only if prosecutors pledged not to seek the death penalty.

In the Illinois case involving Witte's death, Broeking said Krajcir -- not prosecutors -- will have the choice of whether he wants to be sentenced under 1978 statutes, which carried a possible 20 to 40-year prison sentence for a murder conviction, or the current law that's punishable by up to 60 years.

Illinois statutes then and now carry a possible death sentence. But Charles Garnati, Krajcir's prosecutor in the Witte slaying, has told the court he would not seek to have Krajcir executed, citing the inmate's help in apparently solving the crime.

Messages left with Garnati for this story were not immediately returned.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle has said Krajcir agreed to admit to the killings there in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Krajcir given 40 years for second Ill. murder

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MARION, Ill. -- Confessed serial killer Timothy W. Krajcir pleaded guilty Friday to the 1978 murder of a Marion woman and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The sentence for the murder conviction will run consecutively with a sentence of the same length Krajcir, 63, received Dec. 10 for a 1982 murder in Carbondale, Ill., meaning Krajcir will spend the next 80 years behind bars.

Now he faces five murder charges and three rape charges in Cape Girardeau, kidnapping and burglary charges in Kentucky and a murder charge in Pennsylvania.

In exchange for the guilty plea, one of the two counts of murder Krajcir faced in the Witte killing was dismissed. That count charged him with causing her death while committing the felony of rape.

With the guilty plea, Krajcir admitted to having strangled Witte with his bare hands May 12, 1978.

According to the facts as read by Williamson County State's Attorney Charles Garnati, Krajcir confessed Dec. 11 to seeing Witte driving around her neighborhood and followed her in his own vehicle.

He admitted to forcing his way into her house when she got home and sexually assaulting her before strangling her for several minutes.

Krajcir then confessed to slashing Witte with a knife, and then, not convinced she was dead, taking up a second knife and stabbing her several times before putting his clothes on and leaving the house, Garnati said.

Physical evidence collected by police at the scene had been preserved and would have corroborated the confession at trial, Garnati said.

Because of the guilty plea, Marion detective Tina Morrow said the physical evidence had not yet been submitted to the state crime lab for DNA testing.

"We're very satisfied after all these years we were finally able to bring justice to Mrs. Witte," Garnati said after the hearing.

Morrow said she breathed a heavy sigh of relief that the legal proceedings, and the case that languished for nearly 30 years without resolution, were over.

She said she will continue to follow the rest of the charges against Krajcir.

Now that the Williamson County charges have been resolved, Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said Friday that Krajcir will be extradited to Missouri as soon as possible from Tamms Correctional Center in Tamms, Ill.

Serial killer gets 13 life terms

April 5, 2008

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 5 (UPI) -- An admitted serial killer thanked the families of five Missouri women for sparing his life as he was sentenced to 13 consecutive life terms.

Timothy Wayne Krajcir, 63 -- who has acknowledged killing nine women in Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania between 1977 and 1982 -- pleaded guilty Friday to the murder of five women in Cape Girardeau, Mo., to seven sexual assaults and one robbery, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Relatives of the victims agreed to the plea agreement, which took the death penalty off the table.

The courtroom was packed with relatives and friends of his victims. A woman who survived a 1981 rape also spoke during the hearing.

"I don't know if I could have been so generous if I were in the same situation," Krajcir said. "Thank you for sparing my life."

Don Call, whose mother was strangled in 1982, said he gets some comfort from knowing that his mother died "simply from being in the wrong place at the wrong time." He said he and his brother were tormented for years by the thought that they should have been able to protect their mother.

Timothy W. Krajcir 1979

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

Timothy W. Krajcir is escorted by Illinois Department of Corrections officers into the Jackson
County Courthouse in Murphysboro, Ill. to enter his plea on charges of the 1982 murder
of Debbie Sheppard on Monday, December 10, 2007. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Timothy Wayne Krajcir

April 4, 2008--Under very tight security, Timothy Wayne Krajcir is escorted
into the federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau.
(J.B. Forbes/P-D)

(J.B. Forbes/P-D)



Missouri victims

58-year-old Mary Parsh and her 27-year-old daughter Brenda were killed with a .38 caliber gun
on Aug. 12, 1977, at the Parsh home on Koch Street in Cape Girardeau.

Mary Parsh Brenda Parsh

Southeast Missouri State University student Sheila Cole's body was found Nov. 17, 1977, at a roadside
rest area near McClure, Ill. Her car was discovered in the parking lot of a WalMart in Cape Girardeau.

Sherila Cole

57-year-old Margie Louise Call was found strangled in her home on Brink Street on Jan. 27, 1982.

Margie Call

65-year-old Mildred Wallace was killed with a .38 caliber gun in her home on William Street on June 20, 1982.

Mildred Wallace

Illinois victims

Krajcir pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Southern Illinois University student Deborah Sheppard
in Carbondale, Ill., in 1982 and received a 40-year sentence.

Deborah Sheppard

Witte was found dead at her Marion home by her husband, David Witte, on May 12, 1978.
She had been strangled to death and suffered a severe knife wound.

Virginia Lee Witte

Pennsylvania victim

Timothy Krajcir is accused of raping and killing 51-year-old Myrtle Rupp inside her home
on 5th Avenue in Temple on April 17, 1979.

Myrtle Rupp

Kentucky victim

A grand jury in Paducah, Ky., has indicted Krajcir of kidnapping and burglary counts in the case
of 29-year-old Joyce Tharp, who authorities say was abducted from her home in 1979
and killed in Southern Illinois before her body was brought back to Paducah.
A Kentucky prosecutor says he won't charge Krajcir in that killing
because it appeared to have taken place in Illinois.

Joyce Tharp

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