Serial killer of 8 dies at Wende Correctional Facility

In this Feb. 10, 2104 photo provided by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Kendall Francois is shown. (AP Photo/New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A former school hall monitor who admitted strangling eight prostitutes and stashing their corpses in his home in the 1990s has died at a prison in western New York.

Prison officials said Kendall Francois, who was 43, died Thursday evening from apparent natural causes. He was an inmate at the maximum-security Wende Correctional Facility in Alden.

A former middle school hall monitor, he told police that he had solicited the women for sex and then killed them during the 22-month spree. He pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty in effect at the time.

A woman escaped and called police on Sept. 1, 1998, leading authorities to the decomposing bodies hidden in the garbage-strewn home he shared with his parents and younger sister. They were not implicated in the slayings.

Forensic specialists reassembled the skeletons of eight women out of nine who were missing from the Poughkeepsie area, gleaning information about how and when they were dismembered and ultimately helping identify them.

Francois was sentenced in 2000 to life in prison without parole. He was also convicted of attempted assault against Christine Sala, the woman who escaped. At sentencing, he didn’t speak. His attorney said that Francois was deeply sorry for his actions, but did not want to give a statement that could be misconstrued by the victims’ families.

Others spoke to him.

“If I had the chance, I’d cut you up into little bitty pieces,” Sala said. “I hope they kill you in prison.”

“I would like to see you die eight times over,” said Heidi Cramer, whose mother, 51-year-old Sandra French, was killed by Francois.

Francois had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

The Erie County medical examiner’s office said Friday it had issued an official finding about the cause of Francois’ death but declined to disclose it publicly.

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