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2 men arrested in unrelated killings of prostitutes

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police have arrested two men in the unrelated killings of two prostitutes three years ago in different parts of the city.

In both cases, the women were strangled after they solicited men for sex, police said. And in both cases, police said, DNA evidence was crucial in helping to make arrests.

In the earlier case, the decomposing body of Jennifer Fischbach, 32, was found May 22, 2004, in a vacant rowhouse in the 1200 block of Bayard St. in Southwest Baltimore. She had been strangled with a wire clothes-hanger, according to a police report.

Fischbach was one of three prostitutes found dead on the west side of the city from late 2003 through mid-2004. The killings had fueled concerns that a serial killer was targeting prostitutes, but a police spokesman said yesterday that detectives had no evidence that the suspect in Fischbach's death was connected to other killings.

Joshua Rice, 27, of the 500 block of Yale Ave. has been charged with first-degree murder. Detectives linked him to the killing through DNA evidence, charging documents showed.

Rice was convicted of second-degree assault in September in an unrelated case and is serving a two-year sentence at the Baltimore City Detention Center, court records show.

In the second case, detectives arrested Anthony L. Thompson, 51, on Thursday and charged him with murder in the death of Leslie Berger, 41, at her Northeast Baltimore home.

Police said that Berger was found strangled in the 5600 block of McClean Blvd. on Sept. 28, 2004. Her son discovered her body, police said at the time.

A police spokesman said that detectives recently were able to link the suspect through DNA evidence found at the scene.

Thompson, who worked at an auto garage in the 900 block of York Road, was arrested Friday morning at that location, police said. He lives in the 4900 block of Arabia Ave. in Northeast Baltimore.

Thompson's DNA was on file with the state because he had been convicted in Baltimore Circuit Court of first-degree assault six years ago, court records show.

He pleaded guilty and received an eight-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation for three years.

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