Thursday, April 30, 2009

L.A.'s Most Prolific Serial Killer Worked In Glendale

A surprising bit of notoriety to be mentioned on some future Glendale crime tour - L.A.'s most prolific serial killer, John F. Thomas, spent 20 years working as an insurance claims adjuster at the State Compensation Insurance Fund here in downtown Glendale.

From the LA Times:

...authorities say they have linked John Floyd Thomas Jr., a 72-year-old state insurance claims adjuster who twice has been convicted of sexual assault, to five of the slayings. Detectives also describe him as a suspect in up to 25 more based on the circumstances of those crimes.

"When all is said and done, Mr. Thomas stands to be Los Angeles' most prolific serial killer," said LAPD Robbery-Homicide Cold Case Det. Richard Bengston.

Thomas was arrested at his apartment in South Los Angeles last month and charged April 2 with murder in connection with the deaths of Ethel Sokoloff, 68, in the Mid-Wilshire area in 1972, and Elizabeth McKeown, 67, in Westchester in 1976.

He said Thomas' DNA matched evidence found at five murder scenes, spanning both crime waves -- the two homicides he has been charged with, one in Lennox in 1975, one in Inglewood in 1976 and one in Claremont in 1986.

Authorities are analyzing evidence in 25 other killings they suspect might be linked to Thomas.

Thomas had been working as an adjuster handling workers' compensation claims since 1989 -- the year the killings stopped. He resigned after his arrest March 31.

Jennifer Vargen, a spokeswoman for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, would not comment on whether the employer was aware of Thomas' criminal record, saying it was a personnel matter.

Co-workers at his office in Glendale described Thomas as quiet but friendly. They said his job mostly involved paperwork.

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