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Man Who Claims He Killed 72 People Sought in Florida in Prostitute’s Death

September 6, 1991

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A man who claims to have killed more than 70 people was charged Thursday with murdering a prostitute in 1985.

Until the arrest warrant was issued, Donald Leroy Evans had only been charged in Mississippi with the murder of a homeless girl.

The Florida warrant charges Evans with first-degree murder in death of Ira Jean Smith, 38. Her body was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a motel closet, said Fort Lauderdale police spokesman Ott Cefkin.

″He knew things about the crime scene that only the killer would know,″ Cefkin said. ″We’re satisfied that ... he was there and he did kill her.″

Detective Richard Hoffman said the warrant was obtained based on physical evidence and information Evans gave investigators in Gulfport, Miss., where he is being held.

Cefkin said the Smith case probably would go to a grand jury and that once the Mississippi case is completed, prosecutors in Florida would seek Evans’ extradition.

Evans, a 34-year-old drifter from Galveston, Texas, has told authorities he killed 72 people after he was arrested last month and charged with kidnapping, rape and murder in the death of 10-year-old Beatrice Louise Routh.

He has already pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges in the Routh case. Sentencing is set for Oct. 24.

Evans told investigators he spent the evening with Smith. The woman’s body was found in a motel room Evans rented under the name Joseph Kenzie, Fort Lauderdale police said.

Police said Evans’ fingerprints matched those found on a bathroom tile.

Smith’s death was attributed to a drug overdose but the medical examiner’s office said she may have been strangled.

Evans was paroled in Texas four months ago after serving five years of a 15-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault. He was arrested in Louisiana Aug. 5 and led police to Routh’s body in Mississippi on Aug. 11.

Evans claims he began killing around 1977 after leaving the Marines.

The FBI is coordinating a task force based in Gulfport checking out Evans’ claims.

Update hourly