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'Westside Rapist' Serial Killer John Floyd Thomas Jr. Sentenced To Life In Prison

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74-year-old John Floyd Thomas, Jr. has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for seven murders and sexual assaults dating back to the 1970s. A serial killer known as the Westside Rapist, he is suspected in numerous other cases, reports the LA Times.

Thomas, who went to prison in 1978 for a rape in Pasadena, had two waves of rape-killings. The first was on the Westside before he was caught. After serving time, he moved to Chino and another wave began in Claremont. Through all this, Thomas was never connected or suspected by police, despite leaving 20 survivors. After he was arrested, more DNA results came in connecting him to four other deaths. Thomas would prey on older woman living alone. He would rape and strangle them and leave a pillow or blanket over their faces.

Police said the former insurance claims adjuster who was born in Los Angeles and attended Manual Arts High School, targeted women ranging in age from their 50s to their 90s, breaking into their homes at night to rape and choke his victims.

After being dishonorable discharged from the U.S. Air Force he was sent to jail for nearly ten years after being convicted of burglary and attempted rape, Following his release, "authorities noticed a string of assaults on elderly white women, reports the LA Times. In 1978, when Thomas was convicted and sentenced to prison again, this time for the rape of a Pasadena woman, the Westside attacks appeared to stop. He moved to Chino after his release in 1983, "coinciding with a wave of rapes and killings that began in the Pomona Valley area."

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Deputy Dist. Atty. Rachel Moser Greene described Thomas' sentence as "an act of pragmatism" rather than "an act of mercy," notes the LA Times.