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Man Charged with Second Raleigh Murder, Suspect in Two Other 1996 Slayings

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Map showing where the six slain women were found
RALEIGH — Raleigh police are turning a series ofunsolved 1996 killings into a series of charges against a 35-year-oldhomeless man.

Police said Tuesday that John Williams Jr. had been charged with theJan. 7, 1996 slaying of Patricia Ashe whose body was found behind1501 S. Blount St.

Ashe was the first of six black women, all poor and with ties to localdrug trade, who were killed and found in or near downtown Raleigh. Policearrested Williams Feb. 4 on a charge of attempted rape. Police said theycaught Williams that night as he was attacking a woman in aparking lot. According to an arrest warrant, Williams assaulted the womanwith a box cutter.

Williams was then charged with the slaying of DeborahJean Elliott, 35. Her body was found Dec. 26, 1996, six blocks from whereWilliams was arrested.

"We have worked closely with the CCBI, the SBI, the District Attorney'sOffice and the FBI in the investigation of these rape and homicide cases,"Raleigh Police Chief M.W. Brown said in a press release. "...We haveconducted over 6,000 interviews regarding these unsolved homicides andrapes of black females in Raleigh."

According to police, evidence has been found that links Williams withthe series of slayings. He is a suspect in at least two of the threeremaining homicides.

A second man, Leman Evans, 60, of 212 Hill St., Raleigh, was arrestedin January and charged with the Jan. 17, 1996, death of Dewanna Burt. Shewas shot in the head. Her body was found in a parking lot on Poole Road.

In addition to the newest murder charge, police also have chargedWilliams with two additional rapes, two attempted rapes, three counts ofassault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting seriousinjury, one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill andone count of first-degree sex offense. These charges results from crimesthat occurred between October 1995 and November 1996.

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