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Patrick BAXTER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robberies
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 1987 - 1990
Date of birth: 1967
Victims profile: Michelle Walker, 14 / Patricia England, 19 / Lisa Gibbens, 25
Method of murder: Suffocation / Shooting
LocationWestchester County, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to 75 years to life in prison in July 2002
 
 
 
 
 
 

Serial killerís conviction upheld

March 3, 2005

A man who was convicted of the brutal slayings of three young women in Westchester County between 1987 and 1990 will remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

District Attorney Jeanine Pirro yesterday said Patrick Baxter, 35, was convicted in July 2002 on 12 counts of murder in the second degree. He was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison and the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has just affirmed that conviction and sentence.

The murders of the women remained unsolved until a re-examination of physical evidence provided the DNA evidence that linked Baxter to all three murders.

Baxter was convicted of murder in connection with the deaths of 14-year-old Michelle Walker, whose body was found on June 6, 1987 behind 21 Greystone Terrace in Yonkers; 19-year-old Patricia England, whose body was found on February 6, 1988 off Sprain Road in Greenburgh; and 25-year-old Lisa Gibbens, whose body was found on July 17, 1990 behind 4 Consulate Drive in Tuckahoe.

All of the victims had been sexually assaulted and two, Walker and Gibbens, were robbed by Baxter before her death.

 
 

Patrick Baxter

A serial rapist and murder who took the lives of three Westchester County, N.Y., females, two of them teenagers, was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison in July after DNA evidence clinched his conviction.

Patrick Baxter, 32, denied having anything to do with the deaths of Michelle Walker, 14; Patricia England, 19; and Lisa Gibbens, 25, who were killed between 1987 and 1990. A judge ordered the DNA test after Baxterís name came up in all three incidents; he was already serving time for car theft.

 
 

New York: White Plains: Man Convicted In Killings

The New York Times

May 10, 2002

A man whose DNA tied him to the murders of three young women in Westchester County was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder. Patrick Baxter, 33, could be sentenced to 75 years to life for the murders, which took place in 1987, 1988 and 1990. The three women were also sexually assaulted.

Until the DNA tests, no one thought that the killings were committed by the same person because the victims were different ages and races and their deaths occurred in different locations.

 
 

Patrick Baxter

November 16, 2000

A White Plains, New York, man was charged with three sex murders going back to 1987 after investigators used cutting-edge DNA technology to link him to the crimes.

Longtime suspect Patrick Baxter, 31, was accused of killing a 14-year-old girl in 1987, a 19-year-old woman in 1988 and a 25-year-old woman in 1990. At the time of the killings police were unable to test DNA evidence from semen recovered at each crime scene because the samples were too small.

New DNA analysis tools enabled Westchester County detectives to match the two cases. Then the DA's office obtained a court order for a DNA sample from Baxter who was already serving a prison term for reckless endangerment and possession of stolen property.

Police officials said in June that the DNA linked Baxter to two of the killings, but he was not charged at that time. A positive match was later made to the 1988 killing, leading to the triple indictment.

 
 

DNA Tests Point to Suspect in 3 Unsolved Killings

By david W. Chen - The New York Times

November 15, 2000

In life, they did not know each other and had little in common. But in death, they shared an awful distinction as the victims in three of the oldest unsolved killings in Westchester County.

In 1987, Michelle Walker, 14, was sexually assaulted and apparently asphyxiated on a summer afternoon in Yonkers while going home with a pizza and a carton of milk. In 1988, the partly nude body of Patricia England, 19, also of Yonkers, was found frozen and decomposed in a wooded area in Greenburgh. And in 1990, Lisa Gibbens, 25, was sexually assaulted and shot once in the head in Tuckahoe while walking to a train station in the morning.

Investigators have been stumped by these slayings, finding no witnesses and making no arrests. But now, prosecutors are set to announce that they believe that all three women were killed by the same man.

On Wednesday, the Westchester County district attorney's office is expected to file charges in the slayings against Patrick Baxter, 31, a former Yonkers resident who is in state prison, convicted in other crimes.

Investigators declined to offer specifics of the indictment or a motive for the killings. But they noted that if they proved their case against Mr. Baxter, it would be one of the area's biggest cases in which a serial killer was tracked down years after the crimes occurred.

''I would definitely consider the person responsible for these crimes a sexual serial murderer and one of the most dangerous that this county has ever seen,'' said Jeanine F. Pirro, the Westchester district attorney, in a telephone interview.

During the early stages of the investigation, no one thought that the three killings were the work of the same person. The victims were different ages and races, and their deaths occurred over three years in different places.

Because the police did not connect the killings, Westchester never experienced the kind of serial killer anxiety that hit New York City during the summer of 1977, when David Berkowitz, a former Yonkers resident who became known as Son of Sam, killed six people and wounded seven.

Mrs. Pirro took care to point out that Mr. Baxter would never have been accused of these crimes were it not for recent advances in DNA testing, and that he was eligible for parole in 2001.

''In a span of 13 years, you have three unsolved homicides, three grieving families, and without DNA technology, we wouldn't have necessarily considered these crimes to be connected,'' Mrs. Pirro said.

Mr. Baxter, a former automobile mechanic, is serving a prison sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 years at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, N.Y., for criminal possession of stolen property and reckless endangerment in an auto-theft case in the Bronx. He has been in and out of prison several times since 1990 for a variety of felonies and misdemeanors.

Mr. Baxter does not have a lawyer in the new cases, Mrs. Pirro's office said, so his version of events has yet to be heard.

The maximum penalty he could face, Mrs. Pirro said, is 25 years to life in prison, since the state's death penalty statute was not enacted until 1995, five years after the last killing.

The first killing occurred on June 6, 1987, as Michelle Walker, a black ninth-grade student, walked along a popular path near her family's home on Warburton Avenue in Yonkers to buy pizza and a carton of milk for her family. The next day, the police found her body in a wooded area off the trail. Her jewelry and cash were gone.

Eventually, investigators determined that she had been sexually assaulted, and that she had died of asphyxiation, by someone who had covered her nose and mouth.

Mr. Baxter, then 18, lived in the quiet, relatively crime-free neighborhood, in an apartment building overlooking the trail. Though the police wanted to question him, he had a separate case pending in Yonkers City Court and, under a law in effect at the time, could not be questioned in an unrelated case, investigators said.

Seven months later, on New Year's Day, Patricia England, a white Yonkers resident, borrowed a pair of shoes from a family friend who was staying overnight. She said she was going to see a friend. It was her 19th birthday.

On Feb. 6, the police found Ms. England's body near the Greenburgh-Yonkers border. Investigators said that she had been sexually assaulted and had died, possibly of asphyxiation, somewhere around Jan. 1, and that she had been killed elsewhere and her body left where it was found.

At first, the investigation focused on a former boyfriend of Ms. England's. But his blood did not match the semen found at the crime scene. The boyfriend had worked with Mr. Baxter at an auto repair business in Yonkers, where they became friendly, investigators said. Ms. England and Mr. Baxter knew each other, they added.

On July 17, 1990, Lisa Gibbens left her apartment about 8 or 9 a.m. en route to her new job as a receptionist at a medical office in Hartsdale. Her body was found shortly after 9 a.m., 50 feet off a regularly traveled path to the Crestwood train station. Her purse was missing, as was her jewelry.

She had been sexually assaulted and a pair of pantyhose was found nearby. And she had been shot, once, in the back of the head, apparently with a sawed-off shotgun.

The police questioned her boyfriend, but his alibi held up. Later, the police suspected Douglas Steadman, a carpenter who had just begun secretly dating Ms. Gibbens and was a cousin of Anthony Mosca, Westchester's police commissioner at the time. But DNA testing failed to link Mr. Steadman to the killing.

Mr. Baxter had only a tenuous connection to the area: he used to hang out with some friends at the Crestwood station.

By earlier this year, though, investigators had determined that the DNA from the semen collected in the Walker and Gibbens cases matched. Eventually a match was obtained in the third case. And when investigators, particularly from the Yonkers Police Department, began looking at unsolved homicides, Mr. Baxter's name popped up several times.

After a legal battle, Mr. Baxter was forced to supply a blood sample in June.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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