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Detroit Police to Charge Former Navy Sailor in Connection With Worldwide Prostitute StranglingsAired April 14, 2000 - 1:06 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: In an hour, a former sailor is to be charged as a serial killer. Detroit police say 26-year-old John Eric Armstrong strangled five prostitutes while having sex with them. He is accused of assaulting three others who described the suspect to the police. While in the Navy, Armstrong served aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz.
And as Keith Dietz (ph) of affiliate WDIV now reports, police say he confessed Thursday to a string of killings around the world.
KEITH DIETZ, WDIV-TV REPORTER (voice-over): Armstrong spent the day confessing to interrogators who say he has broken down several times crying and is now asking for help with his problem. So far, he admits to strangling 17 prostitutes and killing one man with a pipe.
In Armstrong's confession, he says his naval career took him around the world where he left a trail of bodies. The murders began in 1991 in North Carolina. He says he killed four people in the state of Washington between 1993 and the summer of '96. Then it was overseas to Thailand, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Singapore. He says he struck again in Virginia in 1998, in Detroit in 1999, Dearborn Heights this January, and finally three more times in Detroit last week. So far, police have confirmed 10 of his 18 confessions.
ASST. CHIEF MARVIN WINKLER, DETROIT POLICE: Thank God we got this guy off the street and that we're investigating with all due diligence. But it is going to be a meticulous process in order to make sure that all the court rules and everything are satisfied and his rights are satisfied and that this matter is brought to justice.
DIETZ: Armstrong was questioned in the death of Wendy Jordan, who's body was found in Dearborn Heights in the Rouge River. Sources tell me Armstrong failed a lie detector test and police found evidence in Wendy's nose that matched fiber's from Armstrong's car. Armstrong gave police a blood sample, but when they asked for hair, he they shaved his body. But prosecutors still insisted there wasn't enough evidence.
WINKLER: It would be a real human tragedy that -- if he could have been in jail and bureaucracy allowed him to be out.
WATERS: The Navy, the FBI and the State Department all are working to verify the international killings.
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