Graves Pleads Guilty In Philadelphia Rapes, Murder

Air Force Airman Sentenced To Life Without Parole

An Air Force airman who terrorized women in Fort Collins and in Philadelphia was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for strangling a Philadelphia graduate student and committing a string of rapes in a downtown neighborhood.

In a deal with prosecutors, Troy Graves, 30, pleaded guilty to the slaying and the Center City rapes.

In addition to the life sentence for the murder, he was sentenced to six consecutive, 10- to 20-year terms for the rapes.

Earlier this month, Graves pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for sexual attacks on seven women near Colorado State University.

DNA evidence also linked him to the Philadelphia crimes.

In court Thursday, Graves's voice cracked as he answered guilty to each of the Philadelphia rape charges and the charge of murder in the death of Shannon Schieber, a 23-year-old University of Pennsylvania student who was strangled in her apartment in 1998.

Graves then wiped away tears as he signed each of the court documents outlining the charges.

Before he was sentenced, Graves stood in court and apologized to his victims and their families.

"I wish I could offer more than an apology today," Graves said. "I spent a lot of time making up possible ways to make amends to the city of Philadephia, my victims and their families. And my deepest apology to the Schiebers for their loss. And once again thanks to them for how they have been about this."

Shannon Schieber's parents have said that they opposed the death penalty for him.

"I'm hoping my future actions will reflect my sincerity. I have cooperated with authorities fully and hopefully in the future will talk to profilers, which hopefully will help future investigations and maybe myself," Graves said.

Graves will serve his life sentence in Colorado. He could return to Colorado this weekend.

Graves, who was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., was arrested in April after investigators interviewed him and his wife.

A former neighbor had called Fort Collins police earlier this year after seeing a composite drawing of the rape suspect. He was also linked to the two sets of crimes through DNA, fingerprints and several anonymous letters detailing the attacks.

In one typewritten, unsigned letter addressed to Fort Collins police and received Sept. 26, the author assigned each Fort Collins victim a number and described each assault in crude language.

DNA evidence linked the Fort Collins rapist to the Center City Rapist, who struck in the Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood six times between 1997 and 1999, typically entering homes through an unlocked window or balcony door. He blindfolded the women and forced them to perform sexual acts.

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