When Milwaukee prosecutor Norm Gahn filed charges against an unknown serial rapist in 2000 on the basis of a DNA profile, he did not know when he would find John Doe No. 5, reports the Associated Press. He did know that the six-year statute of limitations was nearing on the case. Gahn had strong evidence: the rapist’s semen, taken from five young victims. He had to wait for the rapist’s DNA to turn up in a national FBI databank to track him down. More than seven years later, it did.
The man charged in the rapes, Rodney Washington, waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday after four victims testified. Washington’s attorney said his client planned to plead not guilty. John Doe No. 5 — with a genetic code that prosecutors say matches Washington’s — was charged March 17, 2000, in rapes that occurred in Milwaukee in 1994 and 1995. Washington’s attorney, Glenn Givens, said he was concerned about the age of the DNA, the state’s methods used to analyze it, and possible contamination. He plans to bring in his own DNA expert to look at the evidence.