DNA Links Truck Driver Charged With Rape To Another Rape

Erie, Pennsylvania – Truck driver Jerome Keyes, 57, of Mississippi, who is charged with kidnapping and raping an Erie woman in his company issued big rig in October has now been charged in an unsolved 2015 rape case.

Erie Bureau of Police Deputy Chief Mike Nolan said DNA collected from Keyes following his October arrest matched the DNA extracted from three separate pieces of evidence collected from the victim of a 2015 rape. Keyes now faces new charges of rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery and kidnapping in the July 2015 rape of a 42-year-old woman.

Keyes was arraigned on the new charges by District Judge Thomas B. Carney on Tuesday, Nolan said. Bond was set at $3 million.

“This was a direct comparison,” Nolan said. “We asked the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab to do a comparison with some unsolved rapes in which DNA was retrieved that had significant similarities in suspect description and (method of operation). One of those cases — we’ve only gotten one confirmation back — it was a 2015 rape, where a woman was abducted at gunpoint.”

 

The 3-year-old rape case involved a victim who said on July 19, 2015 she got into a pickup truck that pulled up to her near West 17th and Walnut streets because she thought the driver represented himself as a neighbor. She was taken to a parking lot in the 1600 block of Cranberry Street and beaten, raped and robbed, according to her testimony.

“She was raped, assaulted and robbed,” Nolan said. “DNA was retrieved from three different areas of the victim’s body. All three of those matched Jerome Keyes.”

In a recent court hearing regarding the alleged rape back in October the 37-year-old victim gave graphic and horrifying testimony. She testified Keyes violently raped her repeatedly in the sleeper of his semi-truck, leaving her severely beaten and bloodied. “Every time I would say something or cry, he would hit me,” she testified.  “He said you’re not making it out of this truck alive if you don’t do what I want.”

The victim was able to escape the truck. She ran away from the scene naked and terrified. Her escape was captured on surveillance video which helped investigators identify Keyes.

 

Things could get even worse for Keyes in the days ahead. Erie police confirmed they have submitted Keyes’ DNA to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Nolan said it could take months before a CODIS analysis is complete.

“We do not know if there are any more out there that we did not ask for a direct comparison to,” Nolan said. “For now, the only thing we can say with certainty is that his DNA matches the DNA retrieved from the 2015 victim.”

Image shared courtesy of goerie.com.

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