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20070402: Did Different MO Lead Police Astray in Delaware Park Rapes? NY Buffalo Serial Killer News
A gun was used in a series of Delaware Park rapes, while a ligature was used in the bike path sexual assaults. Did the use of different weapons help point police to the wrong man?

Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said, "We don't want to convict anybody who isn't guilty."

But that's precisely what happened 20 years ago when Anthony Capozzi faced a jury in Erie County.

He was charged with raping three women in Delaware Park at gunpoint.

During the trial, prosecutor Sheila DiTullio told the jury, "We have shown you, ladies and gentlemen, this defendant violently raped these women beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt."

The jury aquitted on one rape, but convicted him of the other two.

DiTullio said at the time, "I think the verdict was very fair."

That was in 1987. Now, we know that Capozzi didn't commit the crimes.

He was cleared last week after newly-discovered DNA evidence was located.

Instead, that same evidence links suspected Bike Path Rapist-Killer Altemio Sanchez, who's already charged with killing three women since 1990.

In those crimes, a ligature was used, and not a gun, like in the Capozzi rape cases.

Clark said, "All of those that Sanchez was suspected of were committed with a ligature; I think with one exception, and in that case, a knife was used."

UB forensic psychologist Dr. Charles Ewing said, "Does the fact that guns were used in those cases mean that the Bike Path Rapist could not have committed those crimes? I would say absolutely not. It's quite likely that a serial rapist or serial killer would change his M.O. over the course of time. ... It's not uncommon for, in the course of the history of a serial rapist or serial killer, for his M.O. to evolve. Starting out with, let's say, in this case, maybe with a gun, and then going to a knife, or going to a ligature, whatever he eventually comes to feel comfortable with. Usually, the killer or the rapist will settle into some kind of groove. And that will be his M.O. from that point on."

The Capozzi rape case was based almost exclusively on eyewitness testimony.

The gun was never found, and very little physical evidence was recovered.

Then-prosecutor, now Judge Sheila DiTullio calls it "the most troubling and upsetting circumstance" in her 25 years as a lawyer and judge.

She adds, "I am truly sorry for what happened."

At the time of his arrest, Capozzi was suspected of committing three other rapes in the Delaware Park area.

He was never charged, but his lawyer tried introducing those cases as evidence someone else was behind the rapes.

The judge denied it.

 

20070117: Suspected Serial Killer Pleads Innocent NY Buffalo Serial Killer News
A man whose DNA linked him to the deaths of three joggers and a series of rapes over the past 20 years blamed on the ``Bike Path Rapist'' pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of murder.

Altemio Sanchez, a married father of two, entered his plea to one count of second-degree murder in the rape and strangulation of Majane Mazur, 32, in Buffalo in November 1992. Additional charges against Sanchez are expected, authorities said.

Sanchez made no comments during his county court arraignment. His wife and son left without speaking with reporters.

After a series of attacks, the rapist seemed to have disappeared a dozen years ago. Authorities refocused on the case following the strangulation death of Joan Diver, 45, whose body was found along a bike path this fall.

Investigators got a break when they revisted an unsolved 1981 rape of a Buffalo State College student in Buffalo's Delaware Park.

Authorities at the time questioned Sanchez's uncle, Wilfredo Sanchez Caraballo, after the rape victim told police she saw her attacker in a mall shortly after the rape and wrote down the license plate number of the car he left in. Caraballo told them no one had used his car.

When questioned again about a week ago, he said Sanchez had driven it the day the victim reported seeing her attacker all those years ago.

``Now we had somebody that we could focus our attention to and that was the jumping off point,'' prosecutor Frank Clark said.

Eventually, investigators found Sanchez's name on a database of men who had a history of soliciting prostitutes, a trait an FBI profiler suggested could belong to the attacker - and Sanchez's DNA matched evidence found at more than a half-dozen crime scenes, authorities said.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence secretly collected from tableware at a restaurant where Sanchez ate Saturday matched that from crime scenes. He was arrested Monday as he left the factory where he worked.

``All of Erie County can rest a little easier today, because the monster known as the Bike Path Rapist has been brought into custody,'' Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said.

Sanchez is suspected in the strangulation death last fall, as well as the rape and killing of University at Buffalo student Linda Yalem, 22, who was killed along another path in 1990. DNA evidence also links Sanchez to at least six unsolved sex attacks between 1986 and 1994, investigators said.

Sanchez was being held without bail. During hours of questioning afterward, he denied the accusations, Clark said.

Sanchez's attorney said the family believes authorities have the wrong man.

``They demanded to be here to show support to Mr. Sanchez,'' said attorney Andrew LoTempio, who said he advised relatives to avoid the hearing. ``They do not believe any of this is true.''

 

20070116: Suspected Serial Killer Pleads Innocent NY Buffalo Serial Killer News
A man whose DNA linked him to the deaths of three joggers and a series of rapes over the past 20 years blamed on the "Bike Path Rapist" pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of murder.

Altemio Sanchez, a married father of two, entered his plea to one count of second-degree murder in the rape and strangulation of Majane Mazur, 32, in Buffalo in November 1992. Additional charges against Sanchez are expected, authorities said.

Sanchez made no comments during his county court arraignment. His wife and son left without speaking with reporters.

After a series of attacks, the rapist seemed to have disappeared a dozen years ago. Authorities refocused on the case following the strangulation death of Joan Diver, 45, whose body was found along a bike path this fall.

Investigators got a break when they revisted an unsolved 1981 rape of a Buffalo State College student in Buffalo's Delaware Park.

Authorities at the time questioned Sanchez's uncle, Wilfredo Sanchez Caraballo, after the rape victim told police she saw her attacker in a mall shortly after the rape and wrote down the license plate number of the car he left in. Caraballo told them no one had used his car.

When questioned again about a week ago, he said Sanchez had driven it the day the victim reported seeing her attacker all those years ago.

"Now we had somebody that we could focus our attention to and that was the jumping off point," prosecutor Frank Clark said.

Eventually, investigators found Sanchez's name on a database of men who had a history of soliciting prostitutes, a trait an FBI profiler suggested could belong to the attacker _ and Sanchez's DNA matched evidence found at more than a half-dozen crime scenes, authorities said.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence secretly collected from tableware at a restaurant where Sanchez ate Saturday matched that from crime scenes. He was arrested Monday as he left the factory where he worked.

"All of Erie County can rest a little easier today, because the monster known as the Bike Path Rapist has been brought into custody," Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said.

Sanchez is suspected in the strangulation death last fall, as well as the rape and killing of University at Buffalo student Linda Yalem, 22, who was killed along another path in 1990. DNA evidence also links Sanchez to at least six unsolved sex attacks between 1986 and 1994, investigators said.

Sanchez was being held without bail. During hours of questioning afterward, he denied the accusations, Clark said.

Sanchez's attorney said the family believes authorities have the wrong man.

"They demanded to be here to show support to Mr. Sanchez," said attorney Andrew LoTempio, who said he advised relatives to avoid the hearing. "They do not believe any of this is true."

 

 


Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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