Serial killer Arthur J. Shawcross, who was serving life in prison for strangling 11 women in the Rochester area between 1988 and 1990, died Monday at an Albany hospital.

Shawcross, 63, briefly made his home in Delhi and Fleischmanns in June 1987, before being forced to move out of the area by neighbors who protested his presence.

He went into cardiac arrest Monday after complaining of leg pain earlier at Sullivan Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley, a corrections department spokesman said Tuesday.

At the time Shawcross moved to Delhi, he was on parole after serving 15 years for killing two children in Watertown in 1972.

Shawcross moved into a third-floor apartment at 84 Main St. in Delhi on June 12, 1987, with Rose Marie Walley, an area woman who worked at the Delaware County infirmary as a nurse.

Shawcross met Walley through a prison pen-pal program.

After pressure from neighbors, his landlord and area law enforcement officials, Shawcross and Walley left Delhi on June 22, 1987, and moved to a rented house in Fleischmanns.

The couple lived in Fleischmanns until June 26 before moving, as Shawcross was again under citizen pressure. They then relocated to Rochester, where he began a second killing spree in 1988.

Shawcross' 13-week trial for 10 of the killings included graphic testimony about mutilation and cannibalism. Most of his victims were prostitutes murdered between March 1988 and January 1990.

Former Daily Star reporter Neil Cunningham interviewed Shawcross for a story that appeared in the June 18, 1987, edition.

Cunningham said Tuesday that he remembered Shawcross as a "quiet, pudgy monotone type of guy in working man's khaki-colored clothing. He was the type of guy you would walk right by on the street and never notice him." Shawcross told Cunningham that he was trying to live down his past life, "but he couldn't do it if people kept bugging him."

Shawcross said he was rehabilitated during the 15 years he served in state prison for killing 8-year-old Karen Ann Hill of Watertown in 1972.

Cunningham wrote that Shawcross said, "I'm fine if people would just leave me alone."

Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills said Tuesday that he was a state trooper when Shawcross arrived in Delhi, and he remembered the uproar over Shawcross' presence in the community.

The late Frank Harmer was Delhi police chief when Shawcross' parole officer notified him that the convicted murderer had moved to Delhi.

Mills said he remembers Harmer being instrumental in "running the man out of town.

"(Shawcross) was a very bad man, very bad," Mills said. "I think his death will bring some closure, and the families of his victims will breathe a sigh of relief."

During his guilty plea for killing Karen Ann Hill, Shawcross also admitted to killing 10-year-old Jack O. Blake of Watertown.

For the second set of killings, he was arrested in January 1990, a day after state police spotted him near the frozen body of one of his victims.

Shawcross was eventually convicted of 10 counts of murder in December 1990 after jurors deliberated for 61/2 hours. They rejected defense arguments that he was legally insane at the time of the killings because of brain damage, abuse during childhood and his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam.

Three months later, Shawcross pleaded guilty to strangling Elizabeth Gibson, 29, whose body was found Nov. 27, 1989, in woods in neighboring Wayne County.

The burly, gray-haired Shawcross did not testify during his trial, but jurors watched videotapes of him being interviewed under hypnosis by defense psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Lewis. He switched in and out of a high-pitched woman's voice and told Lewis he had once been a cannibal in medieval England.

In sometimes graphic detail, he described incestuous relations with his sister as a child, and wartime atrocities and cannibalism in Vietnam. In the most dramatic passage, he appeared to relive an episode in which he was sexually abused by his mother. He told Lewis his mother's voice told him to kill his victims, and that she "helped him" strangle and mutilate one of the women.

But in videotaped interviews with prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, Shawcross said he never heard voices or had different personalities. Dietz argued that Shawcross was faking mental illness to avoid being sent to prison.

An uproar in 2002 over Shawcross profiting from his prison artwork prompted the state Corrections Department to discontinue its annual inmate art show and ban the sale of art produced in prisons. The "Corrections on Canvas" show had been staged for 35 years in the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Inmates bought their own art supplies and kept half the proceeds from their sales, with the other half going to the state Crime Victims Board. A portrait of the late Princess Diana was among 10 sketches and paintings by Shawcross that sold for as much as $540 each in 2001.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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