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Police Charge Man in One of Six Raleigh Slayings

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RALEIGH — A 35-year-old homeless man chargedWednesday withmurder in connection with one of the six slayings of Raleigh women lastyear, has been arrested several times in recent months on a variety ofcharges.

John Williams Jr., charged in the slaying of Deborah JeanElliott, 35, whose body was found Dec. 26, 1996, was arrested six blocksfrom the scene of that crime as, police say, he was attacking a woman witha box cutter. He was also arrested January 4, 1997 and charged withfirst-degree rape. Williams has three December, 1996 arrests on hisrecord.

James McGill, a counselor at the Raleigh Homeless Shelter whereWilliams once lived, said he was evicted from there.

McGill says Williams first showed up at the shelter in November of1995. He was evicted twice that year, and returned just a few weeks beforeElliott's dealth.

Elliott was one of six women, all black andin their 30s, whowere killed between Jan. 7, 1996, and Dec. 27, 1996. In January, policecharged Leman Evans, 60, of 212 Hill Street, with first-degree murder inconnection with the Jan. 17, 1996 ,death of Dewanna Burt. Burt, 36, wasfound with a gunshot wound to the head in aparking lot on Poole Road.

Police said they do not know whether Williams was involved inany of the other killings of sexual assaults. They will not discussevidence they have against him.

``We haven't discounted it,'' Major Otis Hinton said. ``We'recontinuing our investigation into the others.''

Williams was arrested Tuesday night in the heart of the areawhere four of the women's bodies were found, alongside railroadtracks cutting through downtown's west side. The area has beenplagued by prostitution and drug dealing.

All of the slain women were poor and rootless; police say theyall had ties to the drug scene, and four of them were prostitutes.

Police said they caught Williams Tuesday noght as he wasattacking a woman ina parking lot.

Hinton refused to discuss that attack, but in an arrestwarrant,detectives said Williams assaulted the woman with a box cutter. Hewas booked at the Wake County Jail early Wednesday on a charge offirst-degree attempted rape and felonious assault.

He is being held without bail.

Williams is from Augusta, Ga., and showed up in Raleigh asearlyas last winter.Copyright ©1997 AssociatedPress. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,rewritten, or distributed.

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