Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.More >>
A man charged with a series of rapes in the Queen City more than 30 years ago changed his not guilty plea to a guilty plea in Mecklenburg County Court Thursday.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
Jerry Lee Brooks, 62, was charged with 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 was offered a plea deal by the district attorney several times but had refused until recently.
Brooks was arrested in Surfside Beach, SC in June of 2012 and extradited back to Charlotte in August.
Surfside Beach 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.
In December of 2011, police 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.