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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2008

Calif. man convicted in two rape cases

May 17, 2008

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Calif. man found guilty in 1990s rapes

A cold case is solved as a jury convicts a serial rapist of crimes committed more than a decade ago. Enlarge video

A Douglas County District Court jury Friday afternoon found a 39-year-old Sacramento, Calif., man guilty on multiple charges stemming from the rapes of two women in Lawrence during the 1990s.

Cory Elkins was convicted on four counts of rape and three counts of aggravated criminal sodomy from the rapes of two women. Prosecutors also had DNA evidence linking Elkins to the rape of a third woman, but jurors were not allowed to hear that evidence because the statute of limitations had expired in that case. However, that woman was in the courtroom for the weeklong trial and said the verdict still brings her relief.

"I would've liked to have testified," she said. "I'm just glad he can't hurt anybody else."

It was another victim's unwillingness to let this case go unsolved that eventually led authorities to Elkins in Sacramento. The 33-year-old woman, who lives out of state, saw a story on the Oprah Winfrey Show about new DNA technology and contacted authorities in 2004, nine years after she was raped.

"I'm strong enough to do this now, and I need to live the rest of my life knowing I tried," the victim said.

For her, the guilty verdict was "empowering."

Elkins is scheduled to be sentenced June 20, although defense attorney Jim Rumsey indicated he plans to file a motion for a new trial.

During this week's trial, Sindey Schueler, a DNA examiner at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at the time of the crimes, testified that investigators originally weren't able to come up with a genetic profile for a suspect. But newer, more sensitive tests revealed Elkins' DNA on evidence from the crime scenes.

"I think the majority of people believe in the power of DNA technology," Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan said, "and it really came through on these older cases for these women."

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