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Tamiami Strangler Gets Life Terms

April 5, 2001

MIAMI (AP) _ A killer dubbed the Tamiami Strangler, already sentenced to death for slaying a prostitute, has been sentenced to five consecutive life terms without parole for murdering five others.

Rory Conde agreed to a plea deal on Tuesday. As a condition of the agreement, if he manages to get his death sentence overturned, he cannot try to vacate his guilty pleas to the slayings of the five other prostitutes.

``This sentence will ensure that Rory Conde never again walks the streets of this community,″ Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

Conde has been in jail since his arrest for the killing of the woman believed to be his final murder victim. Now that the other cases against him have been settled, he will be moved to death row at Florida State Prison in Starke.

Prosecutors say Conde began preying on prostitutes along a stretch of rundown motels on Miami’s Tamiami Trail in 1994. The victims’ bodies were dumped at night beside manicured lawns in suburban neighborhoods. One victim’s back carried a taunting catch-me-if-you-can message to police.

The four-month series of killings ended when a woman bound head to toe with duct tape made enough noise in Conde’s apartment to attract the attention of neighbors while he was in court on a shoplifting charge.

The defense argued that Conde snapped when he discovered one prostitute was a man dressed as a woman. The sight brought back memories of childhood sexual abuse, the defense said.

Conde was convicted in 1999 of the slaying of Rhonda Dunn and sentenced to death. Dunn’s body was discovered in January 1995. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to the killings of Lazaro Comesana, a transvestite; and four women, Elisa ``Daphne″ Martinez, Charity Fay Nava, Wanda Cook Crawford and Necole Christina Schneider.

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