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Argentine admits killing psychologist

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 28 -- An Argentine man who earlier admitted killing four of his lovers in New York, California and Mexico in the 1970s pleaded guilty in Westchester County Court Wednesday to one of the slayings. Ricardo Caputo, 46, confessed to the 1974 strangulation and beating death of Judith Becker, the psychologist he romanced while imprisoned in a mental hospital. He had already pleaded guilty to another murder. In a statement issued by his lawyer before his arrest last year, Caputo said, 'I feel only remorse for what I've done and sadness for the families of these women. I can at last face both the past and the future and pray for forgiveness.' Becker was found dead by her parents in her Yonkers, N.Y., apartment in October 1974. She had been choked to death with a nylon stocking and struck on the head. Caputo, who apparently killed Becker while on an illegal furlough from the hospital, vanished and eluded authorities for two decades. Officials say the 26-year-old psychologist was neither Caputo's first nor last victim. Three years before, he had stabbed to death his girlfriend, Natalie Brown, a 19-year-old bank teller, in her Long Island home after she tried to break off the relationship. After the slaying, Caputo was immediately arrested and committed to the Matewan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he met Becker. She arranged for his transfer to a minimum-security facility, Manhattan State Hospital. After killing Becker, Caputo made his way to San Francisco, where he met a woman named Barbara Taylor and had an affair with her.

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The 28- year-old was found beaten to death in her apartment in 1974, and Caputo admitted killing her when he surrendered last year. In 1977, Caputo's girlfriend Laura Gomez, 23, was found dead in her Mexico City apartment. She had been stabbed to death and her teeth were pulled out. Caputo also confessed to that slaying. After Gomez's death, the bloodshed apparently stopped. Caputo married twice, had several children, and lived in California, Mexico, the Midwest and Latin America. In the early 1990s, 'the long-buried memories of his past began to re-emerge in bits and nightmares,' and he decided to turn himself in, Caputo's lawyer said at the time of his client's surrender. Earlier this year, Caputo pleaded guilty in Nassau County Court to Brown's death. He has not yet been indicted in the slayings of Gomez and Taylor.

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