DNA in Tulsa Serial Rapes Leads to Coma Patient - UPDATE

UPDATE: Suspect Desmond Campbell, described in this blog, has died of his injuries, according to news reports. For the month of June, Tulsa women felt under siege, in fear of a serial rapist believed to be the perpetrator of at least 8 sexual assaults within a few miles of each other. The physical descriptions of the attacker varied widely--from a Hispanic or light-skinned black man in his 20's to a white man in his 40's. However, DNA evidence collected at one of the scenes helped authorities locate a suspect in an unlikely place: lying in a coma at a local hospital. While police will not comment publicly on whether DNA was the evidence that connected the suspect to the rapes, a search warrant indicates that DNA was collected from one victim and from two crime scenes from attacks on June 20, June 27, and June 29. A Tulsa World report says that the OSBI ran the evidence against DNA samples collected by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and found a possible hit in Desmond La'Don Campbell. Campbell is a former prison inmate who was just released from prison in April after serving time for attempted robbery, attempted armed robbery, and attempted kidnapping. Tulsa police were afraid they would have trouble locating Campbell, who had committed crimes in Oklahoma City, listed a hometown of Lawton, and did not live at the address on his driver's license. However, the suspect was only an internet search away. A news story telling of a single-vehicle crash in the early hours of June 29--shortly after the eighth attack--identified Campbell as the victim of the wreck. The suspect survived, but remained in a coma since the accident. Police now believe that one of the assaults, which occurred on June 6, was not related to the other seven, and Campbell is not a suspect in that rape. The other seven incidents, however, contain enough similarities that Campbell is believed to be the perpetrator of each. Campbell remains in a coma, and since the accident late last month, there have been no similar rapes in Tulsa. As of this writing, he has not been charged; however, it is expected that the Tulsa County District Attorney will file charges soon. Police have said that they are in continued contact with the hospital about Campbell's condition. First degree rape, which includes forcible rape and rape perpetrated through violence or the threat of violence, is a felony sex crime that carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of life in prison. Oklahoma law, by statute, allows the death penalty for first degree rape, but such a sentence has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in all but aggravated homicide cases. Learn more about Oklahoma rape laws.

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