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Suspect Held in Rapes Charged in '98 Irvine Slaying

August 08, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A suspected serial rapist jailed two years ago on a variety of sexual-assault charges is now being accused of murder and attempted rape in Irvine in 1998, authorities said.

In a complaint filed Thursday by prosecutors, James Shipp was charged with murder and kidnapping for the purposes of rape for allegedly trying to attack a woman after breaking into the copying business where she worked and then fatally shooting a co-worker who had witnessed it.

Shipp also was charged with murder in commission of an attempted rape, which could bring the death penalty, and use of a firearm.

He is suspected of attacking at least eight other women in Orange County: two in Anaheim in 1996 and 1997; one each in Orange, Irvine and Tustin in 1998; and one in Santa Ana and two in Orange in 2001.

Shipp was arrested in May 2001 after attacks that happened within a nine-day period. Detectives said they detected a pattern based on information supplied by the Orange County district attorney's tracker program.

In each of those eight assaults, authorities said, the descriptions of the attacker matched that of Shipp.

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