Nicholas Lee Wiley, known as The Syracuse Serial Killer, was an infamous American serial killer and sex offender who targeted women in Syracuse, New York in 2004.

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Wiley claimed to have killed seven people, though the authorities confirmed him responsible for at least three murders. He was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for his known crimes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines serial murder as "a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone".

Born on July 17, 1962, Wiley had a long history of criminal activities that dated back to 1979. In 1983, he was accused of attacking an elderly woman with a claw hammer, although he later received a sentence reduction and was released from prison before 1990. In 1991, Wiley was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting and beating a 16-year-old girl. Upon his release on January 22, 2004, he registered as a level 3 sex offender.

It was only a few months after Wiley's release from prison that authorities started to suspect him in relation to a spate of killings in Syracuse that began in April 2004. On April 11, 17-year-old Tammy Passineau, a single mother, disappeared from the West Water Street neighborhood in Syracuse. Police initially could not locate her whereabouts, and it was not until the following month that her family reported her missing to authorities. After Passineau's body was never found, authorities began to suspect that Wiley was responsible for her murder.

On May 13, 31-year-old Lottie Thompson, a mother of three, was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Syracuse. She lived in the same West Onondaga Street building where Wiley was living at the time. The next day, June 1, 22-year-old Hannah Finnerty was discovered dead inside a trash can outside the building, having sustained multiple stab wounds.

After Finnerty's body was found, Wiley was arrested as a suspect. During interrogation, Wiley claimed to have killed a total of seven people between April and May, comprising four women, two men, and a teenage gang member. However, his claims could not be corroborated, and the authorities eventually discounted his confessions due to the lack of evidence.

Although, the authorities speculated that Wiley was responsible for Passineau's disappearance. They searched his apartment and found blood on a boxcutter, which was later matched to Passineau's DNA. Therefore, Wiley was indicted for her murder in December. However, Passineau's remains were never found – all that was found was the blood in Wiley's apartment.

During his trial, Wiley claimed he killed Passineau after a heated conversation about sexual predators and prisons. He stated that he also killed Thompson in a fit of anger while having sex in her apartment, which led him to slit her throat. For Finnerty, Wiley confessed to killing her after she had haggled with him for more crack cocaine. Wiley described his killings as thinking he was a ninja.

Wiley's defense tried to convince the jury that he was coerced into confessing by his mental sickness and twisted personality. The defense also sought to drop a first-degree murder charge because the killings did not fit the typical profile. In the end, Wiley was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder by a jury comprising six men and six women. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

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