The first of 21 "John Doe" rape defendants indicted based on their DNA profiles has been identified as convicted felon George Young, and the case can now proceed toward trial, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced Friday.
Prosecutors from the DNA Cold Case Task Force in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office filed a motion to amend an indictment issued by the Grand Jury last April charging "John Doe #1" with the rapes of a 13-year-old girl in 1993 and of a 37-year-old woman in 1996.
Both rapes were reported in the City of Cleveland.
Since then, the Task Force has obtained indictments against 20 other "John Doe" defendants identified at this point only by their unique DNA fingerprint.
This preserves the State of Ohio's ability to prosecute the individuals who eventually are matched to those profiles.
"These stranger rapists boldly commit their heinous deeds in secrecy, thinking no one will ever know who they are,'' said Assistant County Prosecutor Rick Bell, Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Prosecutor's Office. "With this motion we are revealing his identity. This coward is getting his just deserts."
Young's DNA profile matched those generated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation when it tested sexual assault kits from the two Cleveland rape victims.
But the information initially did not match the profile of any known offender in the state's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) data base.
Then last March, Young, 48, of Cleveland, was convicted by a Cuyahoga County jury on six counts of Felonious Assault and one count of Improperly Discharging a Firearm at or into a Habitation or School.
Evidence presented by the State of Ohio proved that Young had fired into a crowd after being asked to leave a party on East 59th Street.
Three people were severely injured. Common Pleas Court Judge Steven E. Gall sentenced Young to 32 years in prison.
Once Young entered the Ohio prison system, his DNA sample was taken and the resulting information was put into the CODIS data base. His DNA matched that found in the two rape kits from Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County investigators received the lead in September of 2013.
After additional investigation, prosecutors moved to amend the indictment.
"George Young was a one-man crime wave, exactly the type of defendant Prosecutor McGinty talks about as a primary reason that we need to pursue these cases,'' said Assistant County Prosecutor Brian McDonough, who manages the DNA Cold Case Task Force within the Criminal Investigations Division. "Holding him accountable for his crimes is the right thing for the victims and for the community."
McDonough said the Task Force hopes to identify all of the John Doe defendants.
To assist in that effort, the Prosecutor's Office has posted a map on its web site (http://prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us/en-us/JD_Map.aspx) of where the John Doe attacks took place.
Citizens who may have information about any of these crimes can now reach the Task Force through a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The multi-agency DNA Cold Case Task Force was established by Prosecutor McGinty in March of 2013 to capitalize on new evidence being generated by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's offer to have BCI conduct DNA tests on backlogged rape kits.
More than 4,000 kits have been submitted to BCI from law enforcement agencies in Cuyahoga County.
The Task Force so far has generated 76 indictments - including the now 20 that identify the perpetrator only by his DNA profile.
In each "John Doe" case so far in Cuyahoga County, the 20-year statute of limitations against prosecuting the offender in at least one rape incident might have expired but for the DNA profile indictments.