Man Accused In Gypsy Hill Killings Has Spent Nearly 50 Years Jailed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Rodney Halbower, 66, is suspected of being a serial killer who raped and murdered five young women in Northern California and one in Reno, Nevada, during a four-month span in early 1976.

Cold case detectives, using DNA technology, said they matched genetic material kept from three of the murder scenes with Halbower’s DNA. Halbower is charged in California with two of the murders. He has not entered a plea. Instead, a judge has ordered a psychiatric review of Halbower to determine if he’s sane enough to stand trial.

What follows is a timeline of Halbower’s last 50 years, most of which has been spent in prison. Halbower grew up in Muskegon, Michigan.

1948: Halbower born June 27 in Wisconsin. Moves with family to Muskegon, Michigan, a few years later.

1964 – Sent briefly to adult prison in Michigan after violating terms of juvenile court probation for stealing a car.

1965 – Convicted of breaking and entering in Michigan and sentenced to five years in prison.

1970 – Convicted of robbery, sentenced to four years in prison.

1970 – Escapes from Michigan prison, fathers a daughter.

1975 – Paroled from Michigan prison, heads to Nevada.

December 1975 – Arrested for the rape of Reno blackjack dealer. Free on bail pending trial.

January-April 1976: Five young women in Northern California and a woman in Reno, Nevada, are raped and murdered. Police suspect a serial killer.

May 1976 – Sentenced to life in prison in Nevada for the rape of a Reno blackjack dealer the year before.

June 1977: – Escapes from Carson City, Nevada, prison.

July 1977 – Arrested for kidnapping of his 7-year-old daughter in Muskegon. Michigan authorities drop charges in exchange for his return to Nevada to serve rest of rape sentence.

December 1986 – He and another inmate escape again from Nevada state prison in Carson City. Halbower steals car, drives to Jackson, Oregon, where he rapes and tries to kill a young woman.

March, 1987 – Oregon jury convicts Halbower of rape and attempted murder, and he’s sentenced to 15-years in prison. He’s returned to Nevada to serve rest of rape sentence.

November 2013 – Paroled from Nevada prison. Sent to Oregon to serve 15-year prison sentence for 1987 rape and attempted murder conviction. Oregon authorities obtain DNA sample from Halbower.

March 2014 – FBI announces DNA evidence links Halbower to the Gypsy Hill killings, so named because of the location where one of the victims was found.

January 2015 – Halbower formally charged in Northern California with two of the murders. Transferred from Nevada prison to jail in Redwood City, California, to await trial.

Thursday: Halbower’s mental competency to stand trial to be discussed in court.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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