ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A paroled killer charged in the slayings of eight women was ordered held without bail Friday, and authorities said they have linked him to a total of 11 killings committed during the last two years.
The break in the serial slayings was "just a matter of luck," one of the police officers who had spotted the suspect's car from a helicopter said.
After his arrest, Arthur Shawcross, 44, of Rochester made statements about the slayings and told police where to find three bodies, said Police Chief Gordon F. Urlacher, who refused to say if the suspect had confessed.
Authorities had been investigating the deaths and disappearances of 16 women in the Rochester area since March, 1988. Urlacher and Monroe County Dist. Atty. Howard R. Relin said five of the slayings are not related to the others.
"The number that we believe that he's responsible for was 11," Urlacher said. "We've said all along that we don't believe all these cases were related, and that's the way it turned out."
Most of the women Shawcross is accused of killing were involved in prostitution and drugs, police said.
Shawcross pleaded not guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder Friday in Rochester City Court. Judge John Manning Regan ordered him held without bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
In addition to the eight cases in which charges were filed, the district attorney said evidence linking Shawcross to three other deaths will be presented to grand juries in Monroe County and neighboring Wayne County.
Relin said Shawcross moved to Rochester in 1987, when he was paroled from prison. He had served 15 years for the 1972 strangling of 8-year-old Karen Ann Hill of Rochester, who was killed when she was visiting Watertown, 150 miles to the northeast.
Police said the break in the serial slayings occurred Wednesday when officers in a helicopter were searching a park 12 miles east of Rochester where clothing of a missing woman had been found. The officers spotted Shawcross' car, then the body of another missing woman.