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Drifter Charged in “Career Girl” Murders

Apr. 25, 1964 - A slender, nearsighted 19-year-old drifter in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn was charged today with stabbing Janice Wylie and Emily Hoffert to death in their East Side apartment last August.

The police said the suspect, George Whitmore Jr., had admitted killing the two career girls. They said he also had confessed to the slaying of a Brooklyn woman on April 14.

But at his arraignment in the three murders in Brooklyn Criminal Court, Whitmore, through his court-appointed lawyer, Jerome Leftow, recanted the confessions. Mr. Leftow said they had been obtained under duress.

More than 1,000 persons have been questioned about the double murder, one of the city’s most baffling crimes of recent years.

Whitmore’s confession, given to Peter Koste, a New York County assistant district attorney, was said to have included details that had not been made public. These details were not disclosed. Whitmore was said to have stated that, after the slayings, he broke the blades of two of the three knives he used with his heel.

Miss Wylie was the daughter of advertising executive and novelist Max Wylie and niece of novelist Philip Wylie. Max Wylie said today that he was “relieved” by the reported solution of the crime. He had spoken frequently to the press and had written a magazine article about it.

However, Philip Wylie, in Honolulu, told The Associated Press: “It sounds to me like a guy who got scared into a confession or wanted to make a name for himself.”

He added that it did not appear reasonable that a “teenager would be strong enough to break the knives when a policeman who tested a similar one could not do so.”

Whitmore, who is 5-5 and weighs about 140 pounds, stood before Judge James Comerford, surrounded by detectives and reporters, in the old Criminal Court building at 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn.

The judge asked the suspect if he had a lawyer. “No,” he replied. Judge Comerford then appointed Mr. Leftow to represent him.

They conferred privately, and when they returned, Mr. Leftow said: “My client has made certain statements to the police. These statements and confessions were made under duress and stress, and he now recants all the confessions he made.”

Judge Comerford then ordered Whitmore held without bail for a hearing on Thursday. The suspect had no previous criminal record. His only brush with the law came two years ago in Wildwood, N.J., when he was questioned after a gang fight and released.

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