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DNA evidence of rape leads to charge years later

Clearwater police say they can link a man held on a felony weapons charge to a rape that happened in 1995.

Published July 28, 2006

CLEARWATER - It happened in the middle of the day - a 27-year-old woman dragged into the woods and raped - but it went unsolved for more than a decade.

Until now.

DNA evidence left by the rapist was entered into a state database in 1995. There the evidence stayed, unidentified until April of this year, when a match was made.

"DNA is a remarkable tool," police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. "It will set innocent men free and convict those who thought they got away."

Clearwater police arrested Lenzy Dixon, 42, on March 29. As a felon, he was not permitted to own a gun, but police learned he had pawned a .357 revolver and arrested him on charges of felonious possession of a firearm. Upon his arrest, he provided a DNA sample that was forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The match was found in April, police said, but investigators had to track down the woman to see if she was still interested in prosecuting the case. She was.

Wednesday, police found Dixon was still in custody at the Pinellas County Jail, and they added a charge of sexual battery.

Records show Dixon has a long criminal history in the county, with charges ranging from drug possession to grand theft and burglary.

Police say the rape of which Dixon is accused went like this:

A woman was walking home to her apartment complex in North Greenwood off N Myrtle and Fulton avenues on Oct. 13, 1995, when a man behind a building called to her.

She walked toward him and he dragged her into the woods and raped her. He ran away as she ran for help. When police arrived, he was gone.

[Last modified July 27, 2006, 23:17:06]

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