Francisco Acevedo is being charged with three previously unsolved homicides...

Francisco Acevedo is being charged with three previously unsolved homicides in Westchester County dating back to 1989. A Suffolk County DWI arrest led to his arrest in the decades old murders of three women in Yonkers. Click here to see the story Credit: Westchester County DA

Three women in Yonkers are killed, their hands left similarly bound.

Police look at more than 100 suspects, believing the slayings are likely committed by the same person.

Years pass without an arrest.

Then, on the night of Jan. 26, 2009, Suffolk police stop a red Isuzu Rodeo that wove across the center line on Washington Avenue in Brentwood.

That driver, officials said this week, was responsible for those Yonkers slayings - the first of which occurred in 1989.

In an indictment unsealed in Westchester County on Wednesday, Francisco Acevedo, who had moved to Long Island after the killings, was charged with multiple counts of first- and second-degree murder.

Acevedo was linked to the Yonkers slayings, officials said, because DNA collected last year in the upstate prison - where he is serving a sentence for drunken driving that stemmed from the 2009 Brentwood traffic stop - matched DNA from the three slayings.

The slayings of the women, Kimberly Moore, 30, of Greenburgh, and Bronx residents Tawanda Hodges, 28, and Maria Ramos, 26, have long frustrated Yonkers detectives who believed they might have been committed by the same person.

Ramos' body was found bound and naked in 1989 in the same Yonkers industrial area where Hodges was left dead two years later. At one time, police there circulated a sketch of a suspect based on the description of a clerk at the Trade Winds Motel, where Moore was found in May 1996, hands bound, face up on a bed. All three had been raped, police said.

Westchester police said Friday that Acevedo had not been among more than 100 suspects detectives looked at following the slayings in Yonkers.

In 2004, the state DNA database matched biological evidence found on the bodies.

Public records indicate Acevedo, now 41, lived at multiple addresses in Yonkers and neighboring Mount Vernon between 1995 and 1999.

After stays in Brooklyn, Central Islip, and Orlando, Fla., among other spots, the Connecticut native was living in Brentwood last year when he was stopped by Third Precinct police on Jan. 26.

A blood-alcohol check showed Acevedo had more than three times the legal limit when he was stopped, police said.

Acevedo, who had multiple felony drunken-driving convictions on his record, was sentenced to 1 to 3 years and sent to upstate Green Haven Correctional Facility, according to state records.

After a transfer to Gowanda Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison not far from Lake Erie, Acevedo was turned down for parole in September. But because he would be eligible for conditional release before his next parole hearing, correction officials say he was ordered to supply a DNA sample as required by state law, triggering this week's indictment. He had been scheduled for release on Jan. 26, 2011.

Attempts to reach a family member Friday were unsuccessful; messages left for his attorney were not returned. Acevedo pleaded not guilty in connection with the three killings and remains behind bars.

While Acevedo was convicted of crimes in Connecticut in the late 1980s and early '90s that would now compel him to automatically provide authorities with DNA - including sexual assault - those convictions occurred before that state's DNA collection law was passed.

While New York has a similar law, at the time of his arrest in Suffolk last year, Acevedo was not required to supply a cheek swab because he was convicted of a vehicle and traffic law felony, not a penal law felony, which would have automatically "flagged" his prisoner file for collection.

Other agencies are now reviewing their files to see if Acevedo might be a suspect in other unsolved cases, an official said.

It was not immediately clear if any of those cases are on Long Island.

With John Valenti





2004: A DNA link is made between evidence found on three homicide victims in Yonkers going back to 1989.

January 2009: After numerous arrests in Connecticut and in Suffolk County in 2005 and 2007, Acevedo is again arrested in Suffolk and charged with drunken driving.

May: Acevedo is convicted and sentenced to a 3-year-max prison term.

September: Acevedo is denied parole from an upstate prison; on orders of state parole authorities, he is ordered to provide a DNA cheek swap.

Sometime later: The DNA is sent to a lab in Albany that runs checks for matches of DNA from crime scenes. Acevedo's DNA is matched to those recovered from three unsolved homicides.

Wednesday: A six-count murder indictment of Acevedo is unsealed in Westchester County.

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months