Serial rapist guilty in ’91 attacks

August 12, 2011
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A serial rapist last month admitted to committing three rapes 20 years ago, including attacks in JP and Jackson Square’s Academy Homes.

Jerry Dixon, 38, formerly of Dorchester, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to the brutal rapes and was sentenced to three consecutive 10-year prison terms. He has already been in custody for three years.

Dixon’s conviction was the result of groundbreaking DNA evidence. The case also has led to investigatory reforms because an innocent man was wrongly convicted of one of Dixon’s rapes and spent 12 years in prison.

In July 1991, Dixon lured a Medford woman who asked him for directions behind a building on Amory Street in Jackson Square. He then beat, raped and robbed her in a 45-minute attack.

The crime inspired vigilante-style actions in the area. A “protection association” formed and offered a reward for the suspect’s capture. In one incident, an innocent man was held at gunpoint by a resident.

Police evidence-handling also was questioned after a contractor claimed to find the victim’s ID and credit cards at the scene after police had examined it.

The April 1991 Academy Homes rape was interrupted by Boston police officers, who arrested Dixon under the false name “Gerry Dickerson.” The case fell apart at the time, but Dixon’s fingerprints were recently found to match “Dickerson.”

After the other rape, in March 1991 in Roxbury, police jailed an innocent man named Anthony Powell. In 2004, a review of DNA evidence pushed by the New England Innocence Project cleared Powell and showed that the various rapes were the work of some other attacker.

In a groundbreaking move, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley got the then-unknown suspect indicted based solely on DNA evidence. The DNA profile later was matched with Dixon, whose DNA was on file from a 1991 armed robbery conviction—a conviction that Conley coincidentally won as an assistant district attorney, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

“This is the result when a prosecutor’s office commits itself to the truth rather than just convictions,” Conley said in a press statement. “We can free the innocent, hold the guilty accountable, make our city safer, and make our justice system more just.”

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