Craigslist Rape Suspect Kills Self

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man facing nearly 30 years in prison
for raping three women who had advertised on Craigslist's former
"erotic services" section apparently committed suicide in his
Kansas jail cell, sheriff's officials said Tuesday.

David Lee Gage, 52, of Wichita, was found dead at the Sedgwick
County Jail early Monday after another inmate who was headed to
breakfast looked through the window to Gage's cell and saw his
motionless body, said Maj. Glenn Kurtz of the county sheriff's
office.

The office did not immediately say how Gage died except to say that he apparently killed himself.

"There were no warning signals that we found," Kurtz said.
"We're looking at medical files, we're looking at records, and
there is nothing to indicate a trigger or warning sign that we
could have seen."

Gage had pleaded for leniency when he was convicted in May,
telling a judge he had health issues and didn't think he had long
to live. Assistant prosecutor Justin Edwards said Tuesday that Gage
"made a big point that he was thinking his life wouldn't last much
longer because of a family history of short life expectancy."

Gage had been awaiting transfer to prison, where he was to spend
the next three decades after being convicted of seven felony
counts, including rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated
robbery and aggravated assault.

Prosecutors accused him of setting up meetings at motels with
women he met through the Craigslist classifieds Web site. Once
there, he would flash a federal marshal's badge and threaten to
arrest them for prostitution if they didn't have sex with him,
according to testimony at his trial.

Gage had been convicted in 1998 of falsely impersonating a
police officer when he tried to use the same approach with someone
he thought was a prostitute, but who turned out to be an undercover
Wichita police officer.

Jim Buckmaster, CEO of the San Francisco-based online classified
service, announced last month that the "erotic services" section
of his Web site would be shut down, replaced with an "adult
services" section where posts would be screened to ensure
legality.

Buckmaster had met with attorneys general from Missouri,
Illinois and Connecticut over the states' concerns about ads on
Craigslist that solicited illegal sexual activity. Those talks came
after the April 14 killing of a New York woman who had advertised
on the site.


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