St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on February 18, 2001 · Page 15
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 15

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Sunday, February 18, 2001
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Page 15
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postnet.comnews ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH NEWS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2001 A15 : ih 'TV L SSL Thomas, Colleen and baby Tiffany Gill, from a family portrait taken in the early 1980s. Colleen and Tiffany Gill were killed in 1983, bludgeoned in their home in St. Louis' West End neighborhood. Killer Killer in Texas may hold key to 3 slayings here Continued from Al On July 31, 1983, the bodies of Colleen (who also went by Colette) Gill, 33, and her daughter Tiffany, 4, were found in their stately home on Washington Terrace in the city's West End neighborhood. They had been beaten to death with a blunt object. A neighbor of the victims reported seeing something that seems especially important in view of Sells' statements. The witness said a white man, 18 to 25 years old with brown hair, ran from the Gills' home just as Thomas Gill drove up that night. Sells, 36, a brown-haired white man, would have been the right age in 1983. ' Thomas Gill said he discovered the bodies of his wife and daughter. The couple's son Sean, 1, was asleep upstairs and unharmed. Police said there had been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood. In fact, Colleen Gill had confronted burglars on two occasions. But if a burglar was the killer, investigators wondered, why didn't he take anything, such as a large diamond ring on Colleen Gill's finger? Some detectives suspected Thomas Gill, mainly because he was the beneficiary of a $600,000 life insurance policy taken out on his wife less than three weeks before her death. He was never arrested. Thomas and Colleen Gill had operated a beauty salon Colette & Thomas for Hair Ltd. at 12085 Manchester Road in Des Peres for 13 years. They bought the rambling home, in need of repair, at 23 Washington Terrace, near Union and Delmar boulevards, in January 1983 after moving from Chesterfield. They were in the process of rehabilitating the 14-room manse. Sometime after the slayings, Thomas Gill moved from the St Louis area. Efforts to reach him in recent days were unsuccessful. Art Margulis, a noted defense lawyer who represented Gill when he was considered a potential suspect, said he does not know Gill's current whereabouts. "I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear about the information concerning Sells," Margulis said. The headless "Jane Doe" case happened only a few blocks from the Gill mansion but seemed at the time too different to be related. Her body was discovered in the basement of an abandoned building in the 5600 block of Clemens Avenue on Feb. 28, 1983. The structure has since been razed. , The victim, believed to be 8 to 10 years old, had been sexually assaulted. Her head was never found, and her identity remains unknown despite extensive efforts. City homicide Detectives Jeff Stone and Tom Carroll said that Sells has several family members living in the St. Louis area and that he was living in the 3300 block of Edmundson Road in Breckenridge Hills during the time of the Gill murders. Sells got three traffic tickets here in 1983: in June in Pacific, in July in Berkeley and in December in Kinloch. After Sells' arrest in January 2000 in the killing the 13-year-old girl in Del Rio, he told Texas Rangers he wanted to come clean. He coolly described unsolved killings across the Midwest, South and West The prosecutor in the Texas death penalty case called Sells "a killing machine." Investigators have gathered enough facts so far to consider at least a dozen of Sells' confessed murders now solved. Among them is an attack in Forsyth, Mo., about 10 miles northeast of Branson, in which a woman and her child were slain. So far, Sells is formally charged with only one murder other than that in Del Rio: the slaying of a 13-year-old girl in Lexington, Ky., in 1999. The CBS television program "48 Hours" recently devoted two episodes to chronicling Sells' chilling story, in which he admits strangling, shooting, bludgeoning or stabbing men, women and children sometimes with no real reason over the past 20 years. 3300 block of Edmundson: '-y home of Tommy Lynn sens - S4 5600 block fV2 - of Clemens: v 6 L'&t Unidentified rC g , S t A i girlfound j jL LOUIS , SHa Washington . Vc ' A Terrace: home 7 of Colette and Tiffany Gill POST-DISPATCH "I act on animal instinct," Sells told the interviewer. "I'm in a blind rage." He made no mention of the St Louis cases on TV. The Post-Dis patch learned of the possible links late last week. In the Illinois case, Keith Dar-deen was shot three times in the head and sexually mutilated in November 1987. His wife, Elaine, who was seven months pregnant, and the couple's son Peter, 3, were then beaten to death with a baseball bat During the beating, Elaine Dar-deen gave birth to a baby girl who was fatally beaten as well. Sells said on TV he reacted violently to a sexual advance from Keith Dardeen and killed the rest of the family in a rage, to eliminate witnesses. Texas authorities say they believe Sells may have killed 50 to 70 people. " "You can see that we've got to talk to this man," said Henderson, the St. Louis homicide commander. "We owe it to surviving family members as well as ourselves to find out if he has killed here." Henderson said he did not know how soon his detectives would go to Texas. Even if Sells provides details only the killer would know, there may still be a question of whether murder charges would be filed here because Sells already faces execution, he said. That call would be made by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. Authorities also want to ask Sells about the killing of an unidentified woman whose body was found in a cornfield near Summerfield, in St Clair County, in September 1986. She was strangled and mutilated. One notorious child-killing police cannot link to Sells is the abduction and murder of Angie Housman of St Ann in 1993. Sells was in prison in West Virginia on an assault conviction at the time. Reporter Bill Bryan: E-mail: bbryanpost-dispatch.com Phone: 3 14-340-8950 yaw. f ' f i NOT WEARING IT? SELL IT! NOW'S THE TIME TO TURN YOUR JEWELRY INTO CASH WE ARE BUYING: Gold & Platinum Jewelry American & European Watches Loose Unmounted Gemstones Sterling Silver Serveware & Flatware FOR PURCHASING SERVICES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, PLEASE CALL FAMOUS-BARR'S SENIOR ESTATE JEWELRY SPECIALIST PHILWESTRICH MONDAY-FRIDAY 10 AM-6 PM AT (314) 621-6864. FAMOUSBARR THIS IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD A LAIMC0M2 r i ' t S 1 r H , W w lAflT"! 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