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Murder Suspect Jumps Off Bridge

August 14, 1998

MENANDS, N.Y. (AP) _ A murder defendant, his hands and feet shackled, kicked out the window of a moving police van on the way back from court Friday and jumped 65 feet to his death from a bridge over the Hudson River, athorities said.

The body of Gary Evans was pulled from the river shortly before noon.

Evans, 43, admitted in June that he had killed five people and had been charged in four of the slayings this week. He was being taken by two U.S. marshals back to jail in Troy after a hearing in Albany on a parole violation.

After smashing out the window, Evans jumped out and hobbled to the side of the road, authorities said. Evans started to lunge toward one of the deputies, then leaped off the bridge, falling into about a foot of water just off shore, authorities said.

``I’m glad, I’m really glad,″ Dodi Mott, a sister-in-law of one of the men believed killed by Evans, said as she stood by the bridge. ``I want to know that he killed himself and that he suffered.″

A woman who identified herself as Evans’ best friend said she believes Evans was planning to kill himself because he sent her a ``goodbye″ letter earlier in the week.

``I knew Gary wouldn’t die by lethal injection. He never put a foreign substance into his body in his whole life,″ said Cathy Sagendorf of Troy, who brought flowers and balloons to the bridge after she heard of Evans’ death.

Evans, who had a criminal record for theft, led investigators to the bodies of three onetime associates this summer while he was jailed on unrelated charges, police said. Those killings were between 1985 and 1997. He also confessed to the slayings of two jewelry shop owners, one in 1989 and one in 1991.

In a jailhouse interview last month with the Times Union of Albany, Evans expressed remorse and said he finally confessed because a state police investigator who had hounded him for years struck a nerve by saying the 9-year-old son of one of the victims might never know what happened to his father.

``I’m a hard-core criminal and here he made me feel the empathy for an innocent kid who needed to know the truth,″ Evans said. ``It was the only button he could push on me. You have to protect kids ... at all costs.″

Rensselaer County District Attorney Kenneth Bruno had been considering whether to seek the death penalty.

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