Confessed serial killer pleads guilty to deaths

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO Timothy Krajcir, 63, received five consecutive life sentences for the murder counts, with additional sentences for several lesser charges. Krajcir, who confessed to the crimes last year, agreed to plead guilty if authorities would agree not to seek his execution.

Krajcir has admitted to killing a total of nine women in four states. He has already received a combined 80-year sentence for two killings in southern Illinois. He has not been charged for killings he confessed to in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Residents of the quiet Mississippi River town of Cape Girardeau were horrified in the late 1970s and early 1980s when four women were killed in their homes and a fifth was kidnapped outside a Wal-Mart store and slain.

Krajcir, in prison since 1983 for other sex crimes, confessed to the killings only after DNA evidence linked him to one death in Cape Girardeau and another in Illinois. Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle said families of the victims agreed with his decision to forgo the death penalty if Krajcir would plead guilty.

As Krajcir pleaded guilty to each killing -- and to three separate rapes in which he let his victims live -- he described the same pattern. He spotted a woman at a public place, followed her home and returned later to attack her at gunpoint. He mutilated the body of one victim.

He seemed emotionless as he described murdering the women, even as their tearful relatives sat just feet away from him. But he was in tears when he apologized to the families and the community of Cape Girardeau and said he would spend his remaining days counseling younger sex offenders in treatment programs.

"I'll do everything in my power in coming years to help as many people as I can, to make sure things like this never happen again," Krajcir said.

Krajcir pleaded guilty in the federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau. The hearing was held there to provide greater security and handle a large crowd of victims' relatives, the public and the media, Swingle said.

Several relatives spoke at the hearing, describing the pain they endured for 30 years, never knowing who murdered their loved ones.

Mary Parsh, 58, and her daughter, Brenda, 27, were killed in 1977. That same year, 21-year-old college student Sheila Cole was killed. Krajcir also pleaded guilty to the 1982 killings of Margie Call, 57, and Milfred Wallace, 65.

Call's son, Don Call, cried as he described the guilt that he and his brother felt after their mother was murdered. She was a widow who lived alone and her sons often checked on her.

"When your dad's dead you're supposed to take care of your mom," Call said. His brother "died with this guilt two years ago and I still live with it today."

Krajcir has spent most of his adult life in prison; the string of murders to which he confessed occurred during a brief window when he was free. Krajcir attended Southern Illinois University, where he studied criminal justice.

Authorities say he traveled to Cape Girardeau to hunt for victims and kill them, stumping detectives who sought mostly local suspects.

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