Mark McGwire admits what most already knew — he used steroids

From the Associated Press:

Mark McGwire finally came clean Monday, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.

McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade.

“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

McGwire also used human growth hormone, a person close to McGwire said, speaking on condition of anonymity because McGwire didn’t include that detail in his statement.

McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his final big league team. Tony La Russa, McGwire’s manager in Oakland and St. Louis, has been among McGwire’s biggest supporters and thinks returning to the field can restore the former slugger’s reputation.

“I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come,” McGwire said. “It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”

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Comedian Mort Sahl found

Mort Sahl, reported missing from his Claremont home Friday, has been found by detectives, officials said Saturday.

“He’s where he wants to be voluntarily,” Claremont Police Lt. Paul Davenport said.
Sahl’s wife told police Friday she hadn’t seen her husband since Tuesday May 6. They began a manhunt that included several interviews with Sahl’s associates.
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Comedian Mort Sahl missing from Claremont home *

Family members of comedian Mort Sahl have reported the 81-year-old Canadian-born actor missing, authorities said Saturday.

Sahl, who lives in Claremont was reported missing on Tuesday.
A Glendora man said he was questioned by police in connection with the case Friday night at his home. The man said he never met Sahl.
Claremont Police Lt. Davenport confirmed the investigation is ongoing. Davenport provided no particulars.
*Here’s more details from Lt. Paul Davenport of the Claremont Police Department:
“We took a report (Friday) early evening,” Davenport said. “He was last seen on May the 6th at that time he was with an acquaintance named Michael Willman. We sopke to a colleague of Mr. Sahls yesterday evening who had just spoken to Mr. Sahl on the telephone and was unaware he had been reported missing. He appeared to be where he was voluntarily. “We attempted to call him back, but until we speak to him directly we will continue to show him as a missing person.”
Davenport said there was no indication of a family dispute prior to Sahl’s disappearance. He said Claremont investigators were unaware of any illness that may have contributed to the disappearance.
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John Floyd Thomas Jr. and the hunt for the Grim Sleeper

From find.thegrimsleeper.com:

Until his April 2 arrest, John Floyd Thomas Jr was a Los Angeles insurance adjuster. Police now call him the “Southland Strangler” — named for the geographical section of Los Angeles County where they suspect he killed at least 30 women and raped many more. Thomas is also in the frame for a spate of crimes police say were committed by the “Westside Rapist”.

On first glance this suspect doesn’t fit the profile of the Grim Sleeper. Reports suggest he targets much older females who live alone and are white. This is a direct opposite of the Grim Sleeper’s known victims – young and black. However there are some striking similarities that are worth mentioning.

Many of Thomas’ victims were strangled and beaten and at least one victim was killed in a location other than her home which suggests Thomas’ MO is markedly varied. The LA times is quoted as saying “On the 17 who were killed, he placed pillows or blankets over their faces.” This is also a signature of the Grim Sleeper who is known to have placed items over the faces of some of his victims.

.Perhaps one of the most startling similarities is the time span and ‘gaps’ that separate Thomas’ crimes. The first wave of slayings took place in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. There followed a decade of ‘Sleep?’ until 1983 when Thomas was released from prison. He committed rape and murder over the next 6 years until 1989.

The site also has an interesting map, developed with the help of a profiler who notes that

“the Grim Sleeper attacks women within one mile from his home, and works to blend into the neighborhood.”

Here’s the map:

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The Westside Rapist and suspect John Floyd Thomas Jr.

The LA Times follow up on the John Floyd Thomas arrest contains a summary paragraph that pretty much says it all:

DNA leads detectives to John Thomas Jr., 72. He is held in two slayings, but police suspect he may have killed up to 30 elderly Westside and Claremont women a decade apart.

The story also contains some interesting background including a tidbit about Thomas’ job as an insurance adjuster in Glendale:

Thomas had been working as an adjuster handling workers’ compensation claims since 1989 — the year the killings stopped. He resigned after his arrest March 31.

Jennifer Vargen, a spokeswoman for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, would not comment on whether the employer was aware of Thomas’ criminal record, saying it was a personnel matter.

Co-workers at his office in Glendale described Thomas as quiet but friendly. They said his job mostly involved paperwork.

His steady employment masked a troubled past.

Thomas was born in Los Angeles. His mother died when he was 12 and he was raised by his aunt and a godmother. Thomas attended public schools, including Manual Arts Senior High School.

He briefly joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956. At Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, a superior described Thomas as often late and slovenly. He received a dishonorable discharge, according to his military records, and was arrested for burglary and attempted rape in Los Angeles. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in state prison in 1957. Two parole violations sent him back behind bars until 1966.


Meanwhile Pasadena Police are cracking what cold case files they may have left, according PD spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens:

Since Thomas had a prior arrest in Pasadena, detectives are looking into whether any unsolved cases may fit the same description.


“The cold case unit is taking a look at it in terms of some of the other unsolved homicides that may have taken place prior to and after, to see if there is any relation,” said Police Department Spokesperson Janet Pope Givens.


Specifically, they are looking into cases involving women who were killed around that time period.


Thomas was originally arrested in Pasadena in 1978 on suspicion of rape, but was convicted of lesser charges, she said.


The file on his arrest, which is more than 30 years old, is no longer available, she said.

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Pasadena PD looks at possible cold case ties to John Floyd Thomas, Jr.

The Pasadena PD is examining the possibility that John Floyd Thomas, Jr. may be responsible for homicides there in the late 1970s, officials said Thursday.

Thomas, a onetime resident of Pasadena, was arrested there in the late 70s, officials said.

Thomas, the suspected “Westside Rapist” may be responsible for the deaths of as many as 25 elderly women in Los Angeles County in the 70s and 80s. An LAPD homicide detective dubbed him “prolific.”

We’ll have a story up later today. We’re also looking at Thomas’ connections in Pomona and Chino where he worked and lived, and his connection to at least on homicide in Claremont in 1986.

 

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John Floyd Thomas Jr: “Los Angeles’ most prolific serial killer” *

From the Associated Press:

27322-johnfthomas-thumb-200x276.jpg

LOS ANGELES – Police believe a 72-year-old man charged with two cold-case murders is tied to two decades-old waves of Southern California serial killings and as many as 25 victims.

DNA matching former insurance adjuster John Floyd Thomas Jr. was found at five crime scenes spanning the killing-and-rape rampages in west Los Angeles in the 1970s and Claremont in the 1980s, said LAPD Robbery-Homicide Cold Case Detective Richard Bengston.

“When all is said and done, Mr. Thomas stands to be Los Angeles’ most prolific serial killer,” Bengston told the Los Angeles Times.

Police planned to reveal details of the case at a Thursday news conference.

In the first wave of killings in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, a man police dubbed “The Westside Rapist” entered the homes of elderly women who lived alone, raped them and choked them until they passed out or died. The 17 who were killed were found with pillows or blankets over their faces.

A decade later and 40 miles to the east, five elderly women in Claremont were found raped and killed, also with blankets or pillows over their faces.

Despite some 20 survivors of similar attacks, detectives said they didn’t solve either set of cases nor connect the two. They blamed conflicting descriptions from victims, lack of communication between agencies and a past absence of DNA technology.

LA Times map of Westside crime spree.

*LAPD press release on the jump

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