NY - ROBERT SPAHALSKI, Rochester, 1990-2005
A day after police announced that a Rochester man was under investigation for multiple slayings, the families of some local homicide victims began to wonder Thursday about possible connections to their loved ones' deaths.
Ethel Dix, whose daughter Damita Gibson, 21, was found strangled and stabbed in 1991, said she immediately recognized Robert Bruce Spahalski when she saw his picture in the newspaper and on the TV news Wednesday.
Spahalski, 50, was charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday for the slaying of a Rochester woman a week ago, and for the 1991 bludgeoning death of a man in Webster. He had walked up to the front desk at Rochester police headquarters Tuesday and said he had killed someone.
Spahalski also admitted his involvement in two other city homicides, Acting Police Chief Cedric Alexander said, though he would provide no details. Alexander said law enforcement officials were exploring Spahalski's possible involvement in still more unsolved crimes, in Rochester and elsewhere.
"It piqued my interest when I saw that. I just told my husband, I'm going to call the police tomorrow to see," said Rita Jones of Rochester, whose sister, Hortence Greatheart, 45, was found strangled in her apartment at 345 Lake Ave. in January 2003. Spahalski lived in the same apartment building at several points, according to publicly available records, most recently in late 2004. It was not clear Thursday if he lived there at the time Greatheart was killed.
Jones also noted that the heat had been turned "all the way, to the maximum" in her sister's apartment. That rang a bell as well — in a signed statement Spahalski gave police on Tuesday, he said he turned up the heat in his Webster victim's home to speed decomposition and "throw the police off."
Victoria Jobson, 30, disappeared from her apartment at 512 Lake Ave. in October 1992. Spahalski lived in that building at the time.
Jobson's nude body was found nearly two months later in a grassy area off Lyell Avenue; police said she had been stabbed to death much earlier, and her body was moved there.
Another woman, 24-year-old Moraine Armstrong, was found strangled to death in her apartment on Dec. 31, 1990. Armstrong lived at 509 Lake Ave., across the street from Spahalski's apartment building. Armstrong's mother, Dorothy Hickman, said Thursday that she, too, had noted the news stories about Spahalski but hadn't connected him to her daughter's case because police initially said they were looking only 10 years in the past. Hickman said she had heard "nothing at all" from police since Spahalski's arrest.
Damita Gibson, Dix's daughter, lived off West Main Street at that time, though her body was found, in January 1991, behind a building on Jay Street.
Dix said she first took note of the man she believes was Spahalski when she saw him talking to her daughter at a convenience store on West Main Street. A few days later, he came by their house on King Street looking for a friend of Damita. When Dix asked Damita how she knew the man, her daughter said they had a mutual female friend.
Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........
Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?
"Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight