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'Trailside Killer' linked to eighth slaying, police say

February 23, 2010 |  6:24 pm
David Carpenter, the "Trailside Killer" on death row for the murders of seven people, has been linked to an unsolved 1979 stabbing death of a jogger in San Francisco, police said Tuesday.

DNA evidence links Carpenter to the slaying of Mary Bennett, 23, whose body was found partially covered by dirt and branches in a rugged headlands area overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Police Department said.

Bennett had been stabbed multiple times in the neck, chest and back.

The new evidence, police said, was examined after cold-case detectives obtained DNA samples from Carpenter. Carpenter, 79, is at San Quentin Prison awaiting execution after being convicted of the murders in the 1980s, police said.

Carpenter's victims were attacked in public parks and hiking trails in Northern California, including in Santa Cruz and Marin counties. Some of the victims had been raped, authorities said.

People avoided many hiking trails in the crime areas until Carpenter was arrested in May 1981.

-- Robert J. Lopez