HAMILTON HEIGHTS — A cold case rape of an 11-year-old girl on a Hamilton Heights rooftop in the early 1990s was finally solved after law enforcement matched the suspect's DNA to his identity — after he raped a 12-year-old girl in The Bronx last year, prosecutors said Thursday.
William Dixon, 58, who pleaded guilty in January to assaulting the Bronx preteen in November 2016, was a match to the genetic evidence from a "John Doe" convicted in 2002 of raping a preteen on a Hamilton Heights apartment roof in 1993, prosecutors said.
Police said the genetic profile for the earlier case was surfaced as part of the city's Rape Kit Backlog Project, a $38 million initiative to create cases from genetic evidence on file since the early 2000s. This project was conducted across the country in an effort to provide "justice for victims and bring closure to survivors for decades to come," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.
The 11-year-old victim went to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on Feb. 17, 1993, after Dixon approached her in the hallway of a Hamilton Heights apartment, pulled her hat over her eyes, held a knife to her throat and forced her to the building's rooftop where he sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said. Genetic evidence from her rapist was taken then and kept on file, allowing prosecutors to match it to Dixon earlier this month.
"Thanks to a pioneering effort by Assistant District Attorneys Martha Bashford and Melissa Mourges, as well as former Sex Crimes Chief Linda Fairstein, cold cases are not forgotten cases. And thanks to the power of DNA evidence, cold cases do not remain cold cases,” Vance said in a statement.
“Less than two weeks ago, a DNA hit identified the alleged perpetrator of this brutal assault on a young girl. And more than two decades after the attack, the very same prosecutor that indicted the then-unknown defendant’s DNA profile is handling his prosecution."
Dixon was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday on charges of sodomy and was ordered held at Rikers without bail, records show. He is due back in court on July 13.
He was sentenced to three years in prison in connection to last year's rape under a plea deal with prosecutors, according to the New York Times.
He reportedly raped an 8-year-old girl in 1984, according to the Times, spent four years behind bars in that case, and was freed in May 1989.
His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.