Suspect Eyed in Series of Unsolved Murders
Oct 6, 2003 5:14 pm US/Eastern
Pittsburgh (KDKA) Investigators are trying to determine if a Washington County man, who's already behind bars accused of murder, may actually be responsible for a string of unsolved murders dating back decades.
David Kennedy, 48, of Cecil Township, is in jail -- accused of murdering Deborah Capiola, 17, of Findlay Township nearly 30 years ago.
In March of 1977, Capiola disappeared on the way to her school bus. Ten days later, officials found her body near an abandoned strip mine. She had been raped and strangled.
Three years ago, DNA linked Kennedy to the crime.
Now authorities are looking at the possibility that Kennedy may also be linked to similar unsolved murders in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia -- dating back to the 1970s.
A retired state trooper who worked on the cases says he has a strong feeling that the murders are connected; now authorities plan to use DNA evidence to find out for sure.
One of the cases involves the strangulation death of Barbara Jean Lewis, 30, who was last seen in November of 1976. Police found Lewis' body in a dumpster behind the Blackridge Civic Association Building -- about one mile from her Penn Hills home.
"We didn't have any eyewitnesses and we followed all the leads that we had and they all came out cold at the time; and over the years, different leads have come in. We followed them and they all have gone cold." -- Chief Richard Jones, Churchill Police
Most of the unsolved cases being re-examined center around the Washington County area where Kennedy lived. At this point, though, no firm evidence links Kennedy beyond the case in which he is charged.
Meanwhile, since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is still reviewing pre-trial evidence motions in the case, Kennedy has yet to go to trial in the Capiola case.
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