'Gypsy Hill' serial killer to be charged in Peninsula cold-case murders

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Thursday, March 30, 2017
This is an undated mug shot of the accused "Gypsy Hill" serial killer Rodney Halbower.
This is an undated mug shot of the accused "Gypsy Hill" serial killer Rodney Halbower.

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- The accused "Gypsy Hill" serial killer will be charged in two Peninsula cold-case murders.

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ABC7 News has learned 68-year-old Rodney Halbower was in court for a preliminary hearing this week.

The judge announced Halbower will be formally charged for murdering two young women in the 1970s.

"Ultimately, what has come down after all that work -- the DNA only allows to prove two of the murders here in San Mateo County," said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. "He's additionally charged with a third murder up in Reno, Nevada."

Halbower is accused of killing 17-year-old Paula Baxter of Millbrae and 18-year-old Veronica Cascio of Pacifica in 1976. He won't be charged for two other murders in the area.

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Cascio's body was found in January of that year at Sharp Park golf course in Pacifica.

She was raped and stabbed 32 times.

A month later, Baxter's body was discovered in Millbrae. She was last seen at Capuchino High School.

In 2015, investigators found Halbower's DNA on cigarette butts left at both crime scenes. ABC7 News reporter Vic Lee interviewed Halbower while he was in jail two years ago. At that time he said, "This, finding a cigarette butt and DNA from 30 years ago, doesn't make sense. I have no idea about that."

Halbower is expected to be charged Apr. 11.