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'STRANGLER' DIES IN ELECTRIC CHAIR; WAS FIRST CONVICTED BY DNA

A serial killer, the first person convicted of murder on the basis of genetic evidence, was put to death in the electric chair.

Timothy W. Spencer, known as the "Southside Strangler," was electrocuted Wednesday night at the Greensville Correctional Center for the first in a series of rapes and murders.

Spencer had consistently maintained his innocence. But, when asked if he had any last words, Spencer said, "Yeah, I think," then said nothing.

He was pronounced dead at 11:13 p.m.

Among the people who witnessed Spencer's execution was Warren B. Von Schuch, a former Richmond prosecutor who served on a task force created after Spencer began his series of slayings.

Von Schuch said that without the use of DNA testing, Spencer might not have been caught. After his arrest, three criminal laboratories concluded that semen found at all the crime scenes came from Spencer. Scientists said the chance the semen could match someone else was one in 705 million.

Spencer was caught 100 miles away in Arlington, just outside Washington, D.C., after the murder there of a fourth woman.

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