A serial rapist whose crimes spanned more than 20 years was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.
Van "Apples" Patterson, 44, of Cleveland, was convicted on January 22 for a pair of rapes that took place in 1995 and 2009. He had a prior conviction in 2000 for sexual battery against a teenage family member.
Before being sentenced Patterson's 1995 victim, 16-years-old at the time, told the court that she had spent 20 years 'looking over my shoulder, wondering if this could happen again.' He lured her to his car and raped her.
The second rape for which Patterson was convicted involved a 27-year-old woman who had been drinking at a bar and woke up in an abandoned house after having been sexually assaulted.
Patterson was identified as a suspect in both rapes after the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tested backlogged sexual assault kits as part of a statewide initiative spearheaded by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Since its creation in 2013, the work of the Task Force has led to 446 indictments and 138 convictions.
Patterson was acquitted at last month's trial on rape charges from a 1997 incident involving another teenager.
He will not be eligible for parole for 35 years.
Download the Cleveland 19 News app.