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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

One in 65 Septillion


His lifetime of crime began when he was in high school, when he raped a classmate in the early 1960s. Both teenagers lived abroad with their military families.


The first known victim was 15. After a school dance, they found her dead in a field near the school—she’d been raped and strangled. The authorities suspected him early in the investigation, he later confessed. The juvenile court sentenced him to 10-years in prison—he served six.


Upon his release, he returned to the U.S. where he married and secretly resumed his pattern of raping young women. He worked as a medical technician at a nearby hospital, and later, a security guard. He volunteered as a Boy Scout troop leader. Joined the *Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and held the office of ‘Exalted Ruler’ of the local lodge. Some neighbors described him as a kindly man who left gifts for neighbor kids at Christmas. Others felt he was creepy.


In the mid-1970s two young woman from the community where the man lived were found raped and murdered. Their cases went cold until recently when DNA identified a man through a genealogy search and then DNA from a discarded coffee cup matched DNA from the inside of one of the women’s pants. A lab representative stated,


“The probability that a random, unrelated individual could be included as a possible contributor to his deduced profile was approximately one in **65 septillion.”

The brother of the first victim in the 1960s tried to keep up with the man who murdered his sister all those years ago, fearing he’d harm more women. When he learned of the 74-year-old man’s arrest he felt saddened that there were more victims.


It took a jury one hour to convict the elderly man. A judge sentenced him to life in prison for the rape and murder of one victim 40+-years earlier. At the sentencing, the judge said,


“Words cannot begin to express my sorrow in this case.”

For the other young woman found raped and strangled four decades ago, he pleaded guilty. A judged sentenced the man to seven years to life.


With his DNA now in the database system, his profile will continue to be used when trying to solve other, similar cold cases. #murder #sexualpredator


*For those unfamiliar with the Elks, (per their website) they are a fraternal order with hundreds of thousands of members and a 150+ year history. They are a network of nearly 2,000 lodges in communities all over the U.S. They donated millions in scholarships annually.


To become an Exalted Ruler, the local lodge members must have unanimously elected the person to all other positions.


1. Exalted Ruler

2. Leading Knight

3. Loyal Knight

4. Lecturing Knight


Therefore, rising to the top takes a minimum of three years.


**65 septillion has 24 zeros (hard to argue against those odds) (65,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)



Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Palo Alto Online Multimedia, Law & Crime, The Almanac, Palo Alto Online

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