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Prison Inmate Charged In Two Murders From Peninsula 70s-Era 'Gypsy Hill' Slayings

REDWOOD CITY (KCBS) — A man, who was serving prison time in Oregon, has been transferred to San Mateo County where prosecutors have charged him with two of the "Gypsy Hill" killings that happened in the 1970s.



In a news conference on Thursday morning, San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks said Rodney Halbower, 66, was extradited from Oregon to San Mateo County and will be arraigned in Redwood City later the same afternoon.

Halbower is being charged with two counts of murder and the special circumstance of murder during the course of a rape involving victims Paula Louise Baxter 17, whose body was found in Milbrae, and Veronica "Ronnie" Anne Cascio, 18, whose body was found with 30 stab wounds in Pacifica.

"Halbower has an extensive history of violence and has been imprisoned in both Nevada and Oregon," Munks said.

In Oregon, Halbower, was serving a 30-year sentence for attempted murder.

gypsy hill victims
Paula Baxter and Veronica

In the first four months of 1976, Baxter, Cascio, Tatiana Marie "Tanya" Blackwell, Paula Louse Baxter, Carol Lee Booth, and Denise Lampe were murdered in San Mateo County.

The slayings were named after the Gypsy Hill Road area in Pacifica where Cascio and Blackwell's bodies were found.

Halbower became a person of interest in last September when a DNA link was discovered.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that investigations into the other cases are ongoing.

"We are not filing those charges. We have decided that we need to move forward. It is time to bring this man to justice for the murders that we can clearly prove at this point," he said.

Last March, investigators announced that they had connected the case to a sixth woman, whose body was found in Reno during the same time period.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the FBI's tip line at (415) 553-7400, then press 0 and advise that the call is in regards to the Gypsy Hill cases. All calls are confidential.

KCBS will have a reporter at the news conference.

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