DNA links suspect to 18-year-old Mesa rape case - East Valley Tribune: News

DNA links suspect to 18-year-old Mesa rape case

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Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2004 11:41 am | Updated: 5:13 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A 34-year-old Colorado prison inmate has been named a suspect in connection with a Mesa sexual assault that took place nearly 18 years ago.

Anthony Morris was identified through DNA evidence as a suspect in the April 26, 1986, rape of a 40-year-old woman, said Mesa Police Department detective Tim Gaffney.

The woman, who lived near Dobson and Broadway roads, was asleep when an attacker entered her home and sexually assaulted her.

The case was reactivated when sex crime detectives began pouring over old cases in October 2002, Gaffney said. Detectives hoped DNA technology not available in the mid-1980s might be useful in solving cold cases.

Morris' DNA was matched last November to DNA obtained after the sexual assault and after detectives began investigating further, Gaffney said.

A detective met with Morris in February at a Colorado prison and a warrant was obtained for his arrest, Gaffney said.

Morris is eligible for parole this month. If released, he will be brought back to Arizona to face sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary charges, Gaffney said.

Because state law requires DNA testing for any convicted felon, Maricopa County detention officers on Wednesday began collecting DNA samples from 1,500 inmates being housed in the County's jails.

The samples will will be sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety's crime lab for analysis and development of DNA profiles, which can then be deposited into state and national databanks.

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