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DNA Evidence Links Suspect To Three Portland Murders

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Police say they have an abundance of DNA evidence linking a quiet produce warehouse worker to the strangulation deaths of three homeless women whose bodies were found dumped in Portland's Forest Park.

The evidence was made public in documents released on Tuesday.

Appearing in court for the first time, Todd A. Reed, 32, was charged Tuesday with three counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Lilla Faye Moler, 28; Stephanie Lynn Russell, 26; and Alexandria Nicole Ison, 17. If convicted, Reed could face the death penalty.

The arraignment lasted just three minutes. Reed, appearing behind a clear partition, did not make eye contact with dozens of friends and family members of the victims who packed the courtroom.

"I'm glad he's locked up," said Susan Ison, mother of Alexandria Ison. "He can't do this to someone else."

Moler's body was found May 7 by a couple walking their dog. The victim had apparently been strangled with her own clothing. A used condom was found about 28 feet from the body, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Norman Frink.

DNA from material in the condom matches Reed's DNA profile, according to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. Samples from Russell's thighs also contained Reed's DNA, the affidavit said.

As investigators searched the crime scene the next day, Russell's body was discovered about 80 yards away. Moler's body was more decomposed than Russell's. Police say Moler could have been killed as early as April 12.

On June 2, hikers found Ison about a quarter-mile from the others.

All three of the women had been addicted to heroin, and toxicology reports showed they had used the drug shortly before their deaths. The women also had resorted to prostitution. They kept in contact with family, but led largely transient lives.

The women even had similar physical traits: a slight build and brown, shoulder-length hair.

A 16-officer team assigned to investigate the serial killings got a big break July 7, using a decoy operation in the same neighborhood where the victims were known to have worked as prostitutes.

An undercover officer, posing as a prostitute with brown shoulder-length hair attracted Reed's attention as he drove down a busy boulevard. Reed, driving his girlfriend's dark green Mitsubishi Eclipse, waved at the undercover officer to approach the car and later parked behind a video store to watch her, according to the affidavit.

Reed was then approached by another officer who searched the car. The officer found a yellow strap and an open, unused condom.

In the glove compartment, police found a book titled "The Killing Gift," described in the affidavit as a murder novel about a woman who can kill people without touching them.

Reed was arrested at his job Sunday, 11 days after his encounter with police. Co-workers and his manager described him as quiet and punctual. He worked the night shift at a produce market, loading trucks until 4 a.m.

Reed, who has a previous sexual-assault conviction, was divorced in November 1997 after nine years of marriage. His ex-wife has custody of his two sons, age 11 and 8, but he reportedly had regular contact with them.

After the DNA matches came back, police said, Reed told police he had never been in Forest Park, but recalled having consensual sex with Moler. He said he might have had sex with Russell on the day she disappeared.

On May 5, two days before the first body was found, a security officer found identification belonging to Russell on a north Portland street. The ID was lying just three blocks from Reed's home, the affidavit said.

Reed served three years in prison for a 1992 attack on a 24-year-old Multnomah County woman.

According to court documents, the woman accused Reed of luring her into his car by asking for directions, then demanded sex from her. The woman told police that even though she told Reed she was six months pregnant, he raped her twice and forced her to perform oral sex on him, then choked her with a belt. After driving to a remote area, the woman said he raped her again. The victim said Reed then started crying and let her go.

Reed was charged with first-degree rape, sodomy and kidnapping. He was convicted of attempted rape and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was paroled in November 1995.

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