Police: “Ski-Mask Rapist” arrested from 1970’s cold case - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Police: “Ski-Mask Rapist” arrested from 1970’s cold case

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Jerry Lee Brooks, 62 (Source: Surfside Beach Police Department) Jerry Lee Brooks, 62 (Source: Surfside Beach Police Department)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A man is behind bars for a series of rapes that occurred almost 33 years ago, according to police.

The suspect, 62-year-old Jerry Lee Brooks, was arrested at a Surfside Beach, SC condo Tuesday afternoon. Police Chief Mike Frederick said Brooks had no idea the arrest was coming. It's believed he may have lived at the condo a year or longer.

The arrest came after months of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police detectives building a case.

"I think it's a huge victory for us because we know our efforts are worthwhile," said CMPD Major Johnny Jennings, who oversees the Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit. 

In December of 2011, the unit became aware of a series of rape cases from 1979 that were all similar in nature.

Investigators in 1979 had referred to the cases as being the "Ski-mask Rapist Cases." Although the cases were investigated extensively, no suspect was ever named.

During the course of the investigation, police found that there was DNA evidence available in several of the unsolved cases from 1979.

That evidence was submitted to the CMPD Crime Laboratory for DNA analysis.  

Police say that based on those results, it became clear that the cases were all linked, and identified Brooks as the suspect.

The Sexual Assault Unit then began attempting to locate all of the victims or anyone else that could help them in prosecuting the cases, according to police.

Jennings says the unit gives police an opportunity to let the victims know their cases still matter, despite the passage of time. 

The case was presented to a Mecklenburg County Grand Jury on June 25, 2012, and in all, 13 indictments were handed down against Brooks.

After CMPD's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team Unit began searching for Brooks, he was located in Surfside Beach, SC.

Brooks has been charged in three of the cases from 1979.

The charges against Brooks include three counts of rape, two counts crime against nature, one count of burglary, two counts of breaking and entering, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of kidnapping. 

He is being held at the Horry County Jail and is awaiting extradition.

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