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Murder Suspect Jumps Off Bridge

August 14, 1998

MENANDS, N.Y. (AP) _ A man who admitted killing five people since 1985 died today when he escaped from a police van and jumped into the Hudson River as he was being taken to court.

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, said Troy Fire Chief Robert Essigan.

Evans, 43, was being transported by U.S. marshals from Troy to a federal court appearance in Albany when he got out of the van and jumped from a Hudson River bridge, authorities said.

Police said Evans, who had a criminal record for theft, led them to the bodies of three onetime associates this summer while he was jailed on unrelated charge. 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.

Today he was being taken to a U.S. District Court in Albany for a parole violation hearing.

Evans had been traveling across the country for eight months before returning to the Northeast in May, authorities said. 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 when 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.″

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