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Please Forgive Me, Pleads Child Killer

The Colombian handyman who confessed to murdering 140 children in a seven-year rampage has begged forgiveness, judical sources said yesterday.
Luis Alfredo Garavito, a 42-year-old drifter and alcoholic who has been in jail since April on attempted rape charges, confessed to the killings after a five-hour interrogation in which be was presented with an overwhelming body of evidence against him.
"I want to ask forgiveness tor everything I've done, and I'm going to confess," Garavito finally blurted out, according to Bogota's leading daily, El Tiempo.
"I killed them, yes, and not just them. I killed others," he said.
At that point, according to the newspaper and a video tape filmed by the chief prosecutor's office, Garavito pulled a crumpled notebook from his pants pocket and showed how he had scrawled 140 lines through unintelligible symbols scribbled on the pages inside it, his own secret way of tallying his victims.
Judicial officials said Garavito had been transferred to a special detention facility since his confession.
'"We can't leave him in prison, he'd be lynched," one said
The official said Garavito also been placed under an around- the-clock suicide watch, given what he called the strong possibility he would try to take his own life.
Bogota's respected El Espectador newspaper dubbed Garavito the "Solitary Sadist."
Other dailies quoted the National Police Chief, General Rosso Jose Serrno, as saying the child killer was a prime example of why Colombia, which does not have a death penalty for any crime, should move quickly to approve one.
But suprisingly little public outrage has been voiced over the case. Perhaps because the troubled South American country has one of the highest murder rates anywhere in the world and is reeling from the effects of a guerilla war that has taken 35,000 lives in the past decade alone.

news.com.au (2003)

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