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DNA may link Arkansas truck driver to Tulsa slaying

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A DNA test may have linked an Arkansas truck driver with the 1975 rape and killing of a Tulsa college student, authorities said Wednesday.

Clyde Carl Wilkerson, 64, sits in a California jail charged with killing two people during a 1965 crime spree in El Cajon, Calif.

Because he drives across the country, the FBI and multiple jurisdictions are trying to determine whether he is connected to other unsolved crimes in several states, including Tulsa, police said.

Tulsa investigators learned Friday that Wilkerson's DNA matches profiles that police created from evidence in the slaying of Geraldine Martin, Detective Mike Eubanks said.

``He had never been considered a suspect or talked about before in connection with this case,'' Eubanks said.

Police are seeking additional tests to confirm the forensic link.

Martin, 28, was abducted Feb. 5, 1975, from the Tulsa Junior College parking lot following an art class.

Her purse was found a few days later along the Broken Arrow Expressway, and a man tried to use one of her bloodstained credit cards at a Tulsa shopping center the next day. Police created and circulated a sketch of the man.

Martin's body was found nearly three weeks later in a vacant apartment.

Wilkerson was arrested Oct. 29 at his home near Haskell, Ark., on two counts of first-degree murder in the El Cajon slayings and extradited to San Diego.

``During this investigation, an El Cajon detective starts digging into the suspect's whereabouts and puts together a time line. He went to the TPD Web site and found the unsolved cases from that time period when he was here,'' Eubanks said.

Eubanks talked to the detective last week and they arranged for someone from the Tulsa police lab to work with a forensic expert in California, he said.

``The two forensic profiles from the Geraldine Martin case matched perfectly with the DNA from the suspect in California,'' Eubanks said.

Tulsa police are preparing a search warrant to get further evidence from Wilkerson.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the break in the California cases came when federal officials obtained key pieces of DNA evidence.

They retrieved lick-sealed envelopes that Wilkerson reportedly had mailed to a former employer in central Arkansas. The DNA from those envelopes linked him to the two murders, authorities allege.

In one of the California homicides, a 19-year-old woman was beaten, strangled and raped in her apartment June 6, 1965. A 63-year-old man was killed 17 days later and his wife was raped and assaulted in the other case.

Wilkerson was arrested the following month in the rape of a woman in La Mesa, Calif. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

Wilkerson has been considered a suspect in the El Cajon killings for a long time, but authorities never had enough evidence to charge him.

After his release from prison, Wilkerson moved to Oklahoma in the early 1970s. He eventually moved to Arkansas, where he was convicted in 1976 of sexually assaulting a woman and paroled in December 1983, the Democrat-Gazette said.
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