DNA evidence helps garner conviction in 11-year-old rape case - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DNA evidence helps garner conviction in 11-year-old rape case

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It only took a jury 37 minutes to find Jerald Jefferson guilty of aggravated rape. It only took a jury 37 minutes to find Jerald Jefferson guilty of aggravated rape.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A man was convicted of rape 11 years after the assault occurred.

It only took a jury 37 minutes to find Jerald Jefferson guilty of aggravated rape.

In October 2002, Jefferson and two other men abducted the victim, who was 16 years old at the time, from Trezevant High School. They forced her into a car and put a pillow case over her head. She was driven to another location where she was raped.

The victim said the men kept her shoes, purse, and destroyed her cell phone when they threw her out of the car. She walked to a nearby business and called police.

The rape kit was prepared, but was not tested until two years after the assault, when Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received a grant to test a backlog of rape kits in which there were no suspects.

After the rape kit was put into the DNA database, it sat idle until 2010.

Jefferson's DNA was taken when he was arrested in connection with an aggravated assault case. When it was put into the computer, it was a match to the DNA found in the rape victim's tests.

When Memphis Police Lt. Cody Wilkerson told the victim of the match, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in order to put Jefferson behind bars.

Earlier in the investigation, the victim identified one of the other men involved in her rape to investigators. An arrest of Antonio Sparks was not pursued. In 2011, he was convicted of first degree murder in the beating death of a 3-year-old girl. Sparks is serving a life sentence.

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