BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Police say new DNA testing has linked a Georgia man to the killings of four women in Bridgeport in the early 1990s, and investigators believe he may have been involved in up to six other homicides in the city.
Detectives recently went to the D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Ga., and charged Emanuel Lovell Webb, 40, with murder in the killing of 34-year-old Elizabeth "Maxine" Gandy on April 19, 1993, police told the Connecticut Post Tuesday.
Webb is being held at the Georgia prison on a parole violation. Bridgeport State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict said authorities have been talking with Georgia officials about extraditing Webb to Connecticut.
Benedict credited the Bridgeport police Cold Case Unit with being persistent in its review of the killings of about 15 Bridgeport women in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The unit began taking a second look at the homicides in 2000.
The two members of the Cold Case Unit, Detectives Heitor Teixeira and Robert Sherback, found that 10 of the killings had some similarities.
The detectives sent evidence from four homicide cases to the FBI, so that federal authorities could compare the samples with DNA profiles of convicted felons nationwide stored in the Combined DNA Identification System. The DNA technology and nationwide profiles were not available in the early 1990s.
The identification system recorded DNA "hits" for Webb in all four cases, police said. The cases included the killings of Gandy, Sharon Cunningham, Minnie Sutton and Sheila Etheridge.
Police said they found sperm at the crime scenes involving Cunningham and Etheridge, a cigarette butt at the site of Sutton's killing and another person's skin under the fingernails of Gandy, who scratched her killer.
Benedict said the Cold Case Unit is continuing to look into the homicides of Cunningham, Sutton, Etheridge and other women killed around the same time frame.
A special homicide task force was formed in Bridgeport in 1994 after several young women were found dead in vacant buildings and lots in the city's East End. Police called the unknown suspect the "East End Killer."
Webb lived with his sister, Bernice Snead, and a girlfriend in the East End from 1987 through 1993, the Post reported.
Bernice Snead, reached at her home in Bridgeport, expressed shock that her brother was suspected in the killings.
"My mother is 80 years old and lives with him in Georgia; get the hell off my phone," she said.
Webb moved back to Mount Vernon, Ga., where his family had lived previously, in August 1993. He was charged there in July 1994 with the killing of Evelyn Charity, who was sexually assaulted and strangled, according to Georgia court records.
Webb later pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter, robbery and motor vehicle theft and received a prison sentence of 20 years. He was released on parole in late 2001.