A judge convicted a suspected serial killer of killing one woman but acquitted him of killing another even though the man's shirt and jacket were spattered with her blood.
In his verdict, Judge Fred Suria said that he was troubled by the lack of evidence at the crime scene against Geoffrey T. Griffin of Chicago and by the fact that there was no blood of the victim, Beverly Burns, at the scene.
Suria did find the 34-year-old Griffin guilty in the strangulation of Angela Jones after watching a videotape in which Griffin described how he squeezed her throat during sex after the two smoked crack cocaine.
Jones and Burns were among seven women killed in the summer of 2000. The women, most of whom were participating in high-risk activities such as prostitution and drug use, were found dead in abandoned buildings in the Roseland and Englewood neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side and in nearby Harvey.
Police labeled Griffin the "Roseland Killer" after he confessed to killing Jones. He is awaiting trial in the killings of five other women.
In acquitting Griffin in the slaying of Burns, the judge said he was bothered by the lack of evidence placing Griffin at the crime scene. During the trial, defense attorneys explained that Burns' blood could have gotten on Griffin when she had a bloody nose when the two were together. The judge said that there was no evidence of a bloody struggle in the building where Burns' body was found.
Griffin was arrested June 15 in the slaying of Jones, and Burns' body was not found until a week later. The judge said the body was so badly decomposed that it was impossible to determine when the woman died. The defense had argued that without knowing a time of death that Griffin could have been in police custody when the woman was killed by someone else.
While Griffin gave a statement about killing Jones, he gave no such statement about Burns.
Jeanna Burns reacted angrily to the verdict in the slaying of her mother.
"I hate you," she said to Griffin. "I hope you burn in hell."
Griffin is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 19. He faces up to life in prison for Jones' killing.