Suspect charged in 1991 rape

July 25, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

An alleged serial rapist has been charged with two 1991 rapes, including a Jamaica Plain attack that sparked neighborhood-wide fear.

Jerry Dixon, 35, of Dorchester is also accused of a Roxbury rape for which an innocent man served 12 years in prison.

Prosecutors are also set to charge Dixon with a 1989 rape and are investigating his connection to a fourth rape, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

In the JP crime, the victim, a 24-year-old Medford resident, asked the suspect for directions to a local art shop. Pretending to help her, the suspect lured her behind an industrial building on the Jackson Square end of Amory Street. He then beat, raped and robbed her at knifepoint in a 45-minute attack.

The crime inspired vigilante-style action in the area. A “protection association” formed and offered a reward for the suspect’s capture. A tenant of a nearby building later held a supposed suspect at gunpoint at the crime scene, but the man turned out to have no connection to the rape.

Police evidence-handling came into question when a local roofing contractor claimed he found the victim’s driver’s license, credit cards and other items at the scene after the police examined the site.

Another rape had been reported on the same stretch of Amory Street about two weeks earlier. But police said there was no clear connection between the two rapes.

In the Roxbury case, the suspect kidnapped a woman at knifepoint from a bus stop, then beat, raped and robbed her in a two-hour attack. The suspect then demanded that the victim meet him at a nearby skating rink the next night and give him $100. Police went to the spot instead and arrested a man named Anthony Powell, who was identified by the victim as her attacker.

Powell was convicted and spent 12 years in prison. But in 2004, a review of DNA evidence pushed by the New England Innocence Project revealed that he was innocent of the crime.

The same DNA review showed that the Roxbury rapist also likely was behind the JP attack and the other two rapes, according to the DA’s Office. Based on that information, a grand jury indicted the unknown suspect for all four rapes about two years ago.

The DNA profile later matched that of Dixon, whose DNA was in an FBI database after a 2007 conviction on unrelated charges of driving with a suspended license, fleeing police and making threats, according to the DA’s Office.

Dixon was charged with a knifepoint rape and robbery attack in Newton in 1996, but was acquitted, according to Boston Globe archives and the DA’s Office.

Dixon faces multiple counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges. He is being held on $1 million bail. Powell was among the audience members at Dixon’s July 17 arraignment hearing.