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Convicted serial rapist linked to Shenandoah park murders, FBI says

RICHMOND - Federal authorities on Thursday announced that they now believe a convicted serial rapist from Ohio killed two female hikers nearly three decades ago at a secluded campsite in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia - a brutal attack that vexed authorities and haunted a community.

The news of a suspect in the murders of Julianne M. Williams, 24, and her partner, Laura S. "Lollie" Winans, 26, came after investigators said they decided to plow anew through old evidence. Aided by advances in DNA testing, they focused on a housepainter from the Cleveland area who frequented the popular, mountainous park 320 miles from his home city.

Authorities said they now believe that Walter "Leo" Jackson Sr., who died in an Ohio prison in 2018, bound Williams' and Winans' hands with duct tape, sexually assaulted them and slashed their throats. The killings frightened the LGBTQ community and raised fears that the women were slain in a hate crime.


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