Friday, January 11, 2008

Phone call helped police nab rapist

Two sources tell me that the evidence collected from the rape of a woman on Kling Street earlier this week was "fast-tracked" to the top of the DNA testing list at the Bureau of Criminal Identification.

Usually rape evidence is processed in "the order in which its received" .. meaning the items could have sat at BCI for weeks or longer as other cases were tested first.

I'm told a senior officer placed a call to the lab and asked that the testing be sped up because the circumstances in the latest attack were similar to two other university rapes -- one in November on Carroll Street and another in September on Spicer.

Police feared they had a serial rapist on their hands and needed answers fast. It wasn't long before BCI called back. The quick test of the evidence in the Kling and Carrol street attacks netted a DNA match -- a 24-year-old door-to-door salesman from Columbus named Christopher Butts.

I'm not sure if the fast-track cost the city any extra $$, but even if it did, it would be well worth it.

Turns out that Butts' DNA was collected in 2001 .. when he was a juvenile. That's key. Minors can only be forced to give DNA samples when convicted of a pretty serious crime. So if Butts has been on the offensive since at least 01', who knows how many other victims might be out there.

Butts remains a suspect in the September attack, but has not yet been charged.

I also spoke to a source about John Wayne St. Claire, whose arrest was also announced Friday. He's now confessed to breaking in to more than 20 homes around the University area.

Police were on his trail Tuesday when he fled on foot to a vacant home. After securing the perimeter, three officers drew their weapons and entered the home.

Fortunately, St. Clair gave up ... but the officers breathed a sigh of relief when they found St. Clair was packing a stolen .38 revolver. One officer told me that had St. Clair decided to shoot it out with the officers who entered the house, it would have been "ugly in a hurry."

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