Georgia Serial Rapist Caught After Backlogged Kits Were Tested

 A sexual assault survivor should not have to wait 10 years for their rape kit to be tested, but that happened in a Fulton County, Georgia, case. While this kit sat on the shelf, the perpetrator sexually assaulted more people and committed other crimes.

From December 2001 to May 2005, Dandre Shabazz targeted young women—between the ages of 15 and 22—in Fulton County while they were walking alone at night. He threatened them with a gun before sexually assaulting them. At least fifteen of the survivors had undergone sexual assault examinations and had DNA evidence collected, but their rape kits were not tested for years.

In August of 2005, Shabazz was convicted of armed robbery. He was sentenced to a term in federal prison. As a result of his conviction, his DNA was entered into the national DNA database.

Ten years later, the kit from one victim in 2003 was finally analyzed as part of an initiative by the Georgia State Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to test 3,108 backlogged kits. The DNA in the victim’s kit matched with Shabazz’ DNA. His DNA also matched to a dozen other rape kits. He was recently indicted for 11 sexual assaults, and law enforcement continue to search for other victims. 

Testing one rape kit provided more than one victim with an opportunity for justice.

This case underscores the need to timely test all rape kits connected to a reported crime. Research has found rapists are often serial rapists. The numbers in Fulton County make this clear. In addition to Shabazz, law enforcement have identified 25 serial rapists from testing Fulton County’s backlog of previously untested rape kits. Time will tell if they will find more.

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