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Monday, Dec 31, 2001County: Cook
Charges: Felony CTA
Defendant/Suspect: Prince J Richard
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
On October 25, 2005, police arrested Prince J. Richard, 21, as he tried to flee a 76-year-old woman's apartment in the 7900 block of South Rhodes Avenue. Police say he attacked the woman and struggled with her as she screamed, but she was not sexually assaulted.
Richard's criminal record includes a 2002 felony conviction for dog fighting. Police responding to a 911 call about a dog fight found Richard in an abandoned house with several other people and five bloodied and cut pit bulls.
He acknowledged that he was caring for the dogs and keeping them in fighting condition. Richard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to boot camp, but later was sent to prison for getting in a fight. He also had a 2004 conviction for dealing drugs that brought a short prison sentence.
|Detectives investigating a series of sexual attacks on women in their homes have linked a 21-year-old South Side man to three of the cases and are pursuing DNA evidence in several others.|
The nine attacks from August to late October were concentrated in several blocks of the South Shore neighborhood and set the community on edge. The attacker would sneak into homes of women who lived alone as they slept or were preparing for bed.
Police sent Richard's DNA to the Illinois State Police crime lab to match against rape kits from four other attacks this fall in the same area. A match was returned in two of the cases--attacks on Oct. 7 and 16--and police are awaiting results in two others, said Calumet Area Detective Jeffrey Roberts.
Including the Oct. 25 attack, Richard is charged with three counts of home invasion, one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, one count of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault, and two counts of aggravated battery.
Roberts said Richard, of the 7900 block of South Ellis Avenue, also is a suspect in the four other cases that fit the pattern. DNA has excluded him as a suspect in the Oct. 5 murder and sexual assault of Crystal Polk, Roberts said. Police had investigated the case as possibly part of the pattern.
According to police and prosecutors, Richard entered the first-floor apartment of the woman on Rhodes Avenue through a window at about 1 a.m. They say he then unlocked the deadbolt on the front door, walked into the living room, and jumped on the 76-year-old woman after she saw him and screamed. He held her down, grabbed her face, and they struggled for five minutes before Richard tried to run out the front door, prosecutors said.
But police, responding to a 911 call from a neighbor, say they arrived and arrested Richard after a struggle. After Richard was arrested, police suspected he might be responsible for all of the attacks. "We had a pretty strong belief it might be him, but we really had nothing else on him," Roberts said. The key to solving the case was getting the state crime lab to quickly process the DNA evidence his team collected, the detective said.
"We sat down with them and did a major case review" to make sure the crime lab had all of the evidence and information needed to process the case more quickly, he said. "It was a lot of work."
Richard was being held at the Calumet Area headquarters and was expected in Bond Court Wednesday.
Roberts, fellow detectives Jennifer Ghoston and William Filipiak, and Police Officer Gayle Biggs worked the case and still are trying to track down the victims in some of the other known attacks to be reinterviewed. The attacks that fit the pattern happened between 74th and 81st Streets and between Drexel Avenue and Jeffery Boulevard and occurred between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The victims all lived alone.
One woman, who lives in the 7400 block of South Drexel Avenue where one of the attacks happened, said she recently had an alarm system put in. "I haven't been able to rest or sleep. I've been afraid, I've had nightmares," said the woman, who asked that her name not be published. "If it's him, oh, yeah, I'm happy. If the DNA shows that's him, then, yes, I'll feel better."
Prince J. Richard is charged with attacking three women on the South Side during October. Police continue to investigate six other attacks that fit the same pattern in a roughly 1 1/2-square mile area.
Oct. 7: A 51-year-old woman was home alone in bed in her third-floor apartment in the 7900 block of South Rhodes Avenue when she awoke to find a man on top of her, police said. He beat her severely but she struggled and he eventually fled when neighbors started banging on the door.
Oct. 16: A 37-year-old woman awoke to find a man in her bedroom in the 7900 block of South Ingleside Avenue. He beat and raped her before fleeing.
Oct. 25: Richard was arrested after climbing through a window and attacking a 76-year-old woman in her first-floor apartment in the 7900 block of South Rhodes Avenue--the same building as the Oct. 7 attack, police say. She screamed and after the attacker threw her on the floor and struggled with her for several minutes, he attempted to flee but was caught by police.
|Source: Chicago Tribune - November 30, 2005|
Update posted on Nov 30, 2005 - 7:01PM
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