A man appealing his conviction in the 1982 murder of a St. Louis woman and the sexual assault of her young daughters will remain in prison. St. Louis Circuit Judge Robin Vannoy on Tuesday rejected a motion from Rodney Lee Lincoln based on new DNA tests.
Lincoln is serving a double life sentence for the murder of 35-year old JoAnn Tate and the sexual assaults of her 7- and 4-year old daughters.
The judge ruled that the DNA evidence doesn't prove Lincoln's innocence. The results showed no male DNA, just that of the victims.
Prosecutors say Lincoln's conviction came largely because the two girls had identified him as their attacker.
Determined not to let the statute of limitations keep them from prosecuting a serial rapist, St. Clair County authorities have charged a suspect identified only by his DNA profile with a 2005 assault in East St. Louis.
The profile is linked to four other sexual assault cases between 1997 and 2008.
Prosecutors say they to the action in order to file charges before the 10 year statute of limitations runs out.
Illinois State Police Lt. Dave Wasmuth says he believes the serial rapist will eventually be arrested. "We're just waiting for his DNA to be taken, submitted to the DNA index, and a match will occur, Lt. Wasmuth said. "And then the warrant would be amended and actually put that person's name on the warrant."
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says the victim, who no longer lives in the St. Louis area, is "happy" that authorities are pursing a conviction so aggressively.
This is the first time St. Clair County prosecutors have filed charges against a suspect identified only by a DNA profile, but similar legal actions have been taken elsewhere in Illinois.
Bail for the unnamed suspect has already been set at $750,000.