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Murderer caught after chance DNA sample

A man who was not even a suspect until he voluntarily gave up his DNA has been convicted of killing three New York women more than 15 years ago.

Francisco Acevedo, 43, was found guilty on Monday of the serial murders, and could be sent to prison for 75 years to life when sentenced on 17 January.

The killings occurred in 1989, 1991 and 1996. Each woman was found strangled, naked, bound at the hands and facing upward. They were linked to each other by DNA, but police did not know whose DNA it was until 2009. That's when Acevedo, who was in prison on a drunken driving charge, gave up his DNA sample as a condition of an optional parole application.

Detectives said they had looked at more than 100 other potential suspects over the years before they found Acevedo's blood sample and matched it to the killings.

Acevedo was acquitted of three counts of rape. Police had said that two of the victims worked as prostitutes. Acevedo's defence acknowledged he had sex with the three women but denied the rape and murder charges.