50 American Serial Killers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Volume 3

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Francisco Acevedo

In January 2009, Francisco Acevedo was pulled over in Brentwood, New York, and arrested on a charge of drunken driving. This was his fourth D.U.I. arrest and it earned him a one-to-three year stretch at Green Haven correctional facility, beginning in May 2009. In January 2010, he completed an optional parole application, which required him to submit a blood sample for DNA profiling. Acevedo did this voluntarily, hoping to be released a couple of years early. Instead, he ended up tacking another 75 years onto his sentence.

Cold case investigators had been working the decades old case for years. In that time they’d considered and rejected over 100 possible suspects. DNA evidence told them that the same man was responsible for all three murders, and yet the killer proved maddeningly elusive.

The murders had occurred in Yonkers, New York, over a six-year period from 1989 to 1996. Each of the victims was found naked, bound and strangled, posed on her back.

The first to die was 26-year-old Maria Ramos, killed on February 5, 1989, her body dumped near Ludlow Street bridge in Yonkers. Two years later, on March 28, 1991, another Bronx woman was found in the same location. She was 28-year-old Tawana Hodges, a known prostitute.

With the third victim, the killer varied his M.O. somewhat. Kimberly Moore, 30, was not a prostitute and her body was found where she’d been killed, in a room at the Trade Winds Motor Court on Yonkers Avenue. That was in May 1996, and despite an eyewitness description of the man Moore had been with, the case remained unsolved for 14 years, until Francisco Acevedo offered up his DNA and the police got a hit on the CODIS computer.

The pudgy, middle-aged Acevedo made an unlikely serial killer. He was married with two young children, in steady employment and liked by all who knew him. Scratch below the surface, though, and a different picture emerged. Acevedo had a history of drug and alcohol abuse dating back to his teens. He had a lengthy rap sheet that included arrests for sexual assault, larceny, harassment and drunken driving. He’d served a 10-year prison term for the rape of a teenaged girl and had been released just 8 months before Ramos was murdered.

Neither was Acevedo the ideal family man he wanted to portray. A catalogue of domestic violence arrests had seen him eventually sentenced to a year in jail for punching his wife in the face and breaking her nose.

Acevedo was arrested for murder in April 2010. He immediately admitted to having sex with the three women, thereby accounting for the presence of his semen at each of the crime scenes.

It was a clever defense but unfortunately for Acevedo, flawed in one respect. His was the only DNA found on Kimberley Moore, and the janitor who had found her body at the Trade Winds Motor Court, still clearly remembered Acevedo as the man who had shared the room with her prior to her death. It was enough to convict him of murder.

Acevedo was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison on January 17, 2012. As the ruling was read, he probably wished that he’d sat out the last two years of his D.U.I. sentence.

50 American Serial Killers You've Probably Never Heard Of Volume Three includes another 49 riveting stories of America's lesser known serial killers