16 YEARS LATER: DNA evidence links man to Minneapolis rape - FOX 35 News Orlando

16 YEARS LATER: DNA evidence links man to Minneapolis rape

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A woman who was sexually assaulted in Minneapolis 16 years ago did not get justice until a break in the case came more than a decade later when DNA from a separate crime gave investigators the link they needed.

William Jackson was never a suspect until he was charged with a separate crime and the DNA databases confirmed he was a match in the Minneapolis case -- a match that may never have been made if it weren't for an effort that involved going over old evidence with modern forensic science.

It appears that time and science have finally caught up with Jackson, linking him to the rape that took place along Park Avenue in south Minneapolis 16 years ago. The victim said her attacker snuck in through a winder and told her, "Shut your --- ----- mouth or I'll blow your head off. Where's your money?"

The assailant then forced her to perform oral sex twice while her son slept in the next room before tying her up and gagging her with a sock.

Detectives dug that sock out of evidence because modern technologies are far more precise, and when the DNA was re-analyzed, it was a match with Jackson. A partial fingerprint found on the window sill can now also be enhanced with computer software.

"We're able to prove the suspect DNA, also the fingerprint we lifted that night at the scene," John Elder, with the Minneapolis Police, said.

The house where the assault occurred has since been torn down, but police are now looking at other rapes with a similar description to see if they can be connected to Jackson too.

Sometimes, the DNA trail in cold cases also leads to killers. Robert Skagstad was recently sentenced for killing Mary Steinhart 34 years ago in her Uptown apartment, stabbing her 25 times. That sentence closed the oldest cold case in Hennepin County so far.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's crime lab aided 717 investigations by getting a match to an unidentified DNA profile, and the state's database contains the DNA of 125,576 criminals as well as 13,139 unknown profiles just waiting for a match.

As for Jackson, he already has a rap sheet for theft, burglary and crack cocaine -- but his own DNA may put him back behind bars for years to come. Currently, he is in federal custody in Nebraska, which is where his DNA was input into the federal database which matches up with Minnesota's every week.

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