DNA evidence links suspect to 1979 rapes

June 28, 2012 at 7:52 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 28 (UPI) -- Police in North Carolina say DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a 62-year-old man for rape cases dating back to 1979.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Jerry Lee Brooks was arrested Tuesday in Surfside Beach, S.C., south of Myrtle Beach, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The department's Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit began in December investigating a series of rapes that happened in Charlotte in 1979, which investigators at the time called the "ski mask rapist cases."

Police found DNA evidence was available in several of the rape cases and analysis of the evidence showed they were linked. Police said a match from a DNA database led investigators to Brooks.

A Mecklenburg County grand jury indicated Brooks on three counts of rape, two counts of a crime against nature, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of attempted armed robbery and a count each of burglary and armed robbery. He was being held in a jail in Horry County, S.C., awaiting extradition to Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Robert Fey said investigators will review rape cases from the late 1970s and early 1980s to determine whether Brooks could be held responsible in other sexual assaults.

Brooks had been convicted in the 1980s and 1990s on charges including breaking and entering, safe-cracking, common law robbery and embezzlement, North Carolina court records indicate.

He was released from federal custody in February 2005 after serving time for armed bank robbery, the Observer said.

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