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The families of DeSalvo and Sullivan had jointly sued the state for release of evidence while pursuing their own investigation. Sullivan's body was exhumed in 1999 for private DNA testing as part of the effort.
F. Lee Bailey, the attorney who helped to obtain the confession from DeSalvo, said Thursday's announcement will probably help put to rest speculation over the Boston Strangler's identity.
Bailey had been representing another inmate who informed the attorney that DeSalvo knew details of the crimes. Bailey went to police with the information, and he said DeSalvo, who was already in prison for other crimes, demonstrated he knew details only the killer would know.
Bailey would later represent DeSalvo.
"It was a very challenging case," said Bailey, who lives in Yarmouth, Maine. "My thought was if we can get through the legal thicket and get this guy examined by a team of the best specialists in the country, we might learn something about serial killers so we could spot them before others get killed."
Authorities said they're continuing to comb through evidence files and still are hoping to find samples to do DNA testing in connection with the other Strangler-linked killings.
They plan to exhume DeSalvo's body from a grave in Peabody, Mass., sometime this week and said it could be just a matter of days before they get results of DNA testing they're planning.
Associated Press writers David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Mark Pratt in Boston contributed to this report.