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California Briefing / San Diego

Assault suspect found dead in cell

July 04, 2009|Tony Perry

A suspect in a string of home invasions and sexual assaults was found dead in his jail cell Friday morning in downtown San Diego.

Thomas James Parker, 39, was arrested Wednesday in an alleged attack on a woman in Mission Valley. Through DNA evidence, he was linked to six other home invasions and sexual assaults in the last 14 months, officials said.

Parker, owner of the It's A Grind Coffee House in the Little Italy section of San Diego, had apparently hanged himself. He was in a cell by himself and was found dead when a jail guard checked on him at 7 a.m.

In all seven incidents, the attacker used a knife to threaten the women as they entered their homes. On Wednesday, the victim fought off the attack and then chased her attacker through the streets before off-duty Border Patrol agents made an arrest.

Parker was married and had two young children.

-- Tony Perry

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