Serial rapist caught after more than 20 years

A rapist who committed crimes in multiple states and served more than 20 years in prison is back behind bars after DNA testing positively linked him to a cold case that happened in 1994 in DeKalb County.

According to officials with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office, Charlie Scott, 59, has pleaded guilty to charges of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated assault in connection with the assault of a 15-year-old girl walking near her home in the Decatur area 29 years ago.

The victim, who was a minor at the time of the crime and has not been publicly named, was walking in the area of the Colony Ridge Apartment complex on Glenwood Road on Aug. 6, 1994, when Scott approached her with a gun, stated officials.

“Scott pointed a pistol at the victim and threatened to kill her if she screamed,” stated officials. “Scott then forced the victim into the bushes and raped her. Before fleeing, he said that he would come back and kill her if she told anyone. An eyewitness at the complex saw a male coming out of the area fixing his pants, then saw the victim screaming and crying that she had been raped. The witness took the victim to a nearby apartment to contact authorities.”

Through the work of the Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (GASAKI) Task Force, which was formed in 2018 and created in partnership with the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) as part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar federal grant, the cold case was finally solved, stated officials.

“The GASAKI Task Force addresses the downstream investigations and prosecutions of cold case sexual assaults that have resulted from testing of previously untested sexual assault kits or any cold case sexual assault,” stated a press release from the GASAKI Task Force.

Scott was identified as a suspect in the 1994 Decatur rape case following a positive DNA match from a rape kit that was not tested until 2020, stated officials.

According to investigators, Scott was on the run at the time of the assault at the Colony Ridge Apartment complex. In 1995, he was featured on an episode of America’s Most Wanted as a suspect in a series of sexual assaults and had escaped custody several times across three states.

Scott was finally apprehended in California in 1995 and brought to justice in the military court system for crimes committed in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, including several counts of rape, escape from confinement, robbery, and kidnapping, among other charges, stated officials. At that time, he was found guilty and sentenced to a term of 40 years. Scott was released in 2020 after serving 28 years in confinement.

After his release from federal custody, Scott became a truck driver. During a stop at a weigh station, Scott was discovered to still had outstanding warrants for other crimes, and he was arrested again, stated investigators. It was during this time that Scott was confirmed as a match to the 1994 rape in DeKalb County when his DNA was collected after his arrest in April 2021. Investigators stated they also linked him to sexual assaults of several other victims in DeKalb County in the ’90s.

Scott was taken into custody and was transferred to DeKalb County, where he was indicted by a grand jury on May 7, 2021.

Following his non-negotiated guilty plea, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Shondeana C. Morris sentenced defendant Scott to serve 15 years in custody with the remainder of his life sentence on probation.

Upon his release from custody, Scott must comply with the special conditions of sex offender probation; he may not have any contact with minor children, or with any named victim or victim in a previous case, stated officials.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Agatha Romanowski, with assistance from Senior ADA Joya Fortson, Investigator Crispin Henry, and Victim Advocate Julie Varnado. Sergeant Gary Cortellino and Detective G. Horner, who are both retired from the DeKalb County Police Department, handled the initial investigation in 1994, stated officials.

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