An East St. Louis man is back home after spending nearly four months in jail for a crime he did not commit.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that DNA evidence cleared 20-year-old Marlon Miller as a suspect in a brutal rape and robbery. The victim was walking home from a Metrolink stop in East St. Louis when someone pointed a gun at her and forced to a secluded area, then robbed and raped her.
Miller may still be headed to court, he alleges that former East St. Louis detective Orlando Ward coerced a confession to the robbery and helped charge him with sexual assault. Ward was arrested last month for allegedly being a part of a drug ring.
Determined not to let the statute of limitations keep them from prosecuting a serial rapist, St. Clair County authorities have charged a suspect identified only by his DNA profile with a 2005 assault in East St. Louis.
The profile is linked to four other sexual assault cases between 1997 and 2008.
Prosecutors say they to the action in order to file charges before the 10 year statute of limitations runs out.
Illinois State Police Lt. Dave Wasmuth says he believes the serial rapist will eventually be arrested. "We're just waiting for his DNA to be taken, submitted to the DNA index, and a match will occur, Lt. Wasmuth said. "And then the warrant would be amended and actually put that person's name on the warrant."
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says the victim, who no longer lives in the St. Louis area, is "happy" that authorities are pursing a conviction so aggressively.
This is the first time St. Clair County prosecutors have filed charges against a suspect identified only by a DNA profile, but similar legal actions have been taken elsewhere in Illinois.
Bail for the unnamed suspect has already been set at $750,000.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors in southwestern Illinois have charged 51 year old Carlos Garrett with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Willis. Her partly clothed body was found near her Centreville home.
It's not immediately clear what prompted the murder counts against Garrett.
Until Monday, Garrett had been serving a six year prison term on a Montgomery County drug-distribution conviction.
Garrett remained jailed yesterday in Belleville on $1 million bond.
Online court records do not show whether he has an attorney.