Death-Row Serial Killer Claims Illinois KillingCARLYLE, Ill. (AP) - A serial killer nearing execution in Texas for fatally stabbing a girl in 1999 has been linked to 22 killings while claiming dozens more in various states. But Tommy Lynn Sells' taking credit for a killing in Illinois may have helped spared that victim's mother from prison.
In southern Illinois' Lawrence County, prosecutors accused Julie Rea-Harper in the October 1997 stabbing death of her only child, 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick.
During her 2006 trial in Clinton County on a venue change, Rea-Harper's attorneys pointed the finger at Sells after he confessed to killing Joel two days before slaying a 13-year-old girl in Springfield, Mo. Sells was charged in that Missouri killing but was never tried.
After Rea-Harper was acquitted, Lawrence County prosecutors painted Sells as an attention-seeker.
See other LocalNews news:Effingham Man Hurt in One Vehicle Crash in Kinmundy
Police Beat for Saturday, July 4th, 2015
Closer Look: Despite Budget Deadlock, There Are Ways Out
East St. Louis Paid Big Legal Fees to State Senator's Firm
Records: Man Accused of Pulling Gun on Trooper Has Record