Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Condemned Man Confesses to Serial Killings Inmate Linked to Murders in 10 States

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Condemned Man Confesses to Serial Killings Inmate Linked to Murders in 10 States

Article excerpt

Anthony Joe LaRette, who is scheduled to die early today for the slashing death of a young St. Charles woman, had confessed to more than a dozen grisly slayings while on death row and gave authorities unsolicited details about other murders.

Authorities said he gave "phenomenally accurate" details of some 30 murders and rapes across 10 states. "This is a man who has crossed the line many times in many places," said Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon.

But LaRette stood trial only for the killing in St. Charles on July 25, 1980, of Mary Fleming, 18.

LaRette was also charged with murders during the 1970s in Marathon, Fla., and Manhattan, Kan., after calling a Missouri investigator from prison in October 1988 and beginning a series of confessions.

"Tony was a serial murderer-rapist who basically traveled all over the U.S. by bus and killed and raped women," said the investigator, Richard Lee of the Cole County prosecutor's office. "He'd just get right back on the bus and leave town," Lee said Tuesday.

Lee said LaRette usually raped his young female victims before, and sometimes after, he killed them.

"He said he would cooperate in clearing up these cases so long as he remained on death row in Missouri," Lee said. "He had an amazing, simply phenomenally accurate recollection."

For example, Lee said LaRette once described in great detail the floor plan of a Kansas City residence he visited once to commit murder.

Lee said LaRette provided details about nine slayings during the 1970s in Kansas and six murders during the same period in Florida.

A Florida investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday that LaRette had closed the books on at least three unsolved murders in that state and was interviewed about other cases just three weeks ago.

LaRette also offered details about slayings in Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Nebraska, Virginia, Louisiana and a rape and near-fatal beating in Arkansas, Lee said.

In cases with adequate detail, local law enforcement agencies were notified. But most cases "were just cold, and there was nothing they could do to investigate," Lee said.

LaRette talked less in recent years after investigators he didn't know began contacting him, Lee said.

Lee said LaRette first called him from Jefferson City Correctional Center, former home of Missouri's death row, "to say he wanted to confess to a murder" in Manhattan, Kan.

The confession led to LaRette being charged with rape and murder in Riley County, Kan., for the stabbing death of Tracey Miller, 26, wife of a local judge. …

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