DNA Technology Clears One Man Wrongly Convicted of Rape and Leads to Arrest of Dorchester Man For Multiple Unsolved Rape Cases

Police in Massachusetts have arrested Jerry Dixon, a 35-year-old man in connection to a number of unsolved rapes that happened almost 20 years ago. The arrest comes four years after another man, Anthony Powell, was released from prison for serving 12 ½ years of his sentence for a rape crime he did not commit.

Powell’s conviction for rape and kidnapping were vacated in 2004 after DNA evidence proved that he did not rape his alleged victim. Last year, Powell filed a lawsuit against police in federal court accusing them of twisting forensic test results and using unreliable witnesses to wrongfully convict him.

Investigators looking through an FBI database in 2004 identified four unsolved Boston rape cases that did not name a perpetrator. Using DNA evidence, a Suffolk County grand jury indicted an unknown person, listing him as “John Doe” for three rapes-the ones that occurred in 1989 and 1991. The indictment came right before the statute of limitations for prosecuting the cases had ended. The 15-year statute of limitations for the February 1999 case will not expire for some time.

Dixon was linked to the four cases based on results from a mandatory DNA test he took before being released from the Suffolk House of Correction. His arraignment last month was for the two rape cases from 1991.

The first 1991 rape case involves a man allegedly kidnapping an 18-year-old girl from a Roxbury bus stop on March 20, 1991 before raping her more than once and robbing her. On July 21, 1991, a 24-year-old Medford woman in Jamaica Plain was threatened with a knife, beaten, and raped by a man she had stopped to ask for directions.

Dixon has pled not guilty to all charges, which include rape, aggravated rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He may also be charged for the 1999 case. The 1989 rape case, which happened when Dixon was a juvenile, won’t be heard in Superior Court. His criminal defense lawyer plans to careful examine the DNA evidence against him.

DNA links defendant to 2 rapes, DA says, Boston.com, July 18, 2008
Innocent man finally finds justice, BostonHerald.com, August 18, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Helping Victims Preserve DNA Evidence, 911rape.org
State Rape Statute of Limitations

Anthony Powell, The Innocence Project

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