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Man Charged With Murder Of Woman Enters Innocent Plea

April 24, 1986

ATLANTA (AP) _ A 31-year-old man pleaded innocent Thursday to murdering an elderly black woman, one of four victims in a series of slayings that police say are related.

Richard Hunter, who was arrested Wednesday, made his plea during a preliminary hearing at Municipal Court.

He was then returned to the City Jail’s maximum-security section, where he was classified as a suicide risk and was being checked every 15 minutes, according to police spokesman Kevin Forier.

Hunter is charged with murder, rape and burglary in the death of 85-year- old Annie Rochelle Copeland, who was smothered with a pillow in her apartment at the University Homes housing project in northwest Atlanta. Her body was found March 1.

Public Safety Commissioner George Napper said police will seek indictments against Hunter in the three other slayings in the community.

The Atlanta Journal reported Thursday that Hunter has identified an accomplice he says was responsible for killing the fourth victim, 65-year-old Gracie Hill.

The newspaper quoted unidentifed sources as saying police have questioned the alleged accomplice more than once but have been unable to positively link hm to any of the four slayings.

Police had speculated earlier that a second person may have been involved in the death of the second victim, 61-year-old Aretha Clements, because a large television, too big to be carried by one person, was taken from her apartment.

Maj. B.L. Neikirk, head of a task force investigating the four slayings, said Hunter apparently robbed Ms. Copeland to get articles to sell to support a drug habit.

The four victims were killed in an two-mile area between the campuses of Georgia Tech and Spelman College, just west of downtown Atlanta. All four were black women over 60 who lived alone, all were smothered or strangled between March 1 and April 9, and all were sexually assaulted.

Miss Copeland was the first victim. The others were Ms. Clements, found March 6; Dena Mike, 61, found March 11; and Ms. Hill, found April 9.

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