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Murder Suspect Jumps Off Bridge

August 14, 1998

MENANDS, N.Y. (AP) _ A thief who recently confessed to killing five people kicked out the window of a police van taking him to court today and jumped to his death from a 40-foot-high bridge into the Hudson River.

The body of Gary Evans, his hands and feet shackled, was pulled from the river shortly before noon. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Evans, 43, admitted in June that he had killed five people and had been charged in four of the deaths this week. He was being transported by U.S. marshals from Troy to a federal court appearance in Albany for an unrelated parole violation when he escaped from the van and jumped, 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,″ said Mott, whose brother-in-law, Timothy Rysedorph, was slain.

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 charge, police said. Those killings were between 1985 and 1997. He also confessed to the slayings of two owners of small jewelry shops, one in 1989 and one in 1991.

Evans had been traveling across the country for eight months before returning to the Northeast in May. He was arrested in St. Johnsbury, Vt., and extradited to New York after being charged with stealing antique cufflinks worth $1,500.

He was released from federal prison in 1996 after serving time for stealing a rare book from a Vermont museum. He was on probation for that crime and did not report to his last scheduled probation meeting last Oct. 15, police said.

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 touched 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 was considering whether to pursue the death penalty in one of the deaths.

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