Kansas City, Mo. Detectives in Missouri and California are diving into cold-case files as they investigate a career convict charged this week in a string of Kansas City rapes in the mid-1980s.
Bernard Jackson, a 52-year-old sex offender, was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting four women in Kansas City between July 1983 and February 1984, after authorities say DNA evidence linked him to the attacks.
Investigators also consider Jackson a “person of interest” in five recent rapes in the same area of Kansas City as the previous attacks, as well as a suspect in at least 17 sexual attacks in Sacramento, Calif., in the mid-1980s.
As in the 1980s cases in Kansas City, the attacker in the most-recent attacks is believed to have entered the victims’ homes through unlocked doors or windows. And they all happened in the middle-class neighborhood of Waldo, the same general area of the older attacks. Police tracked Jackson to a friend’s home in Kansas City on Wednesday and chased him down after he fled out the back door. He was arrested on a parole violation for failing to report back to a halfway house.
Investigators said they haven’t charged Jackson with the most recent attacks because they still need to gather more evidence, but that with him behind bars it gives them time to build a strong case. “It’s just a matter of when we’re able to get that done,” police spokesman Rich Lockhart said.
It was unclear Friday whether Jackson had an attorney. The state’s electronic database of cases does not list an attorney for him, and police said they didn’t know if he had one. A phone message for Jackson left at the Jackson County jail was not immediately returned.
Jackson has spent most of his adult life behind bars for sexual assault, first going to prison in 1977 at age 19 after pleading guilty to raping a Kansas City woman in her home. He served less than six years of a 15-year sentence and was paroled in April 1983.
Authorities say Jackson split his time over the next 21 months between Sacramento and Kansas City. A month after his release, detectives in the California city were called to investigate the first of 17 sexual attacks over an 18-month period that occurred within a 2-mile area and that they believed at the time were linked.
Meanwhile, Kansas City authorities say Jackson raped four women in or near the neighborhood of Waldo between July 1983 and February 1984. He was charged Thursday with six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy and four counts of first-degree robbery for those attacks after police say DNA testing linked him to those cases.