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Mass. AG: "Most likely" DeSalvo was Boston Strangler

BOSTON -- DNA tests confirm that the man who once claimed to be the Boston Strangler did kill the woman believed to be the serial killer's last victim and was likely responsible for the deaths of the other victims, authorities said Friday.

Albert DeSalvo admitted to killing Mary Sullivan, 19, and 10 other women in the Boston area between 1962 and 1964 but later recanted. He was later slain in prison.

The DNA finding "leaves no doubt that Albert DeSalvo was responsible for the brutal murder of Mary Sullivan" and it was "most likely" that he also was the Boston Strangler, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

Eleven Boston-area women between the ages of 19 and 85 were sexually assaulted and killed between 1962 and 1964.

Authorities said that new technology allowed them to test semen from the Sullivan crime scene using DNA from a living relative of DeSalvo's. That produced a match with DeSalvo that excluded 99.9 percent of suspects.

To confirm the match, investigators unearthed his remains a week ago. They said Friday that the odds that the semen belonged to a male other than DeSalvo were 1 in 220 billion.

A lawyer for DeSalvo's family, Elaine Sharp, has said that even a perfect DNA match wouldn't mean he killed Sullivan and suggested that someone else was at the slaying.

Such theories are bizarre, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County, Mass., District Attorney Daniel Conley.

"It suggests that Mary Sullivan had consensual sex with Albert DeSalvo moments before another person who has never been identified sexually assaulted and strangled her to death, leaving no trace of his presence," Wark said. "Frankly, it defies everything we know about this case."

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