Police in North Carolina have solved a cold case more than 30 years old, arresting a suspect they believe terrorized a series of women in 1979 and was nicknamed “the ski-mask rapist.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Tuesday they had arrested Jerry Lee Brooks, 62, at a rented condo in Surfside Beach, S.C., just one day after a grand jury indicted him on 13 charges of rape, breaking and entering, burglary, and kidnapping.
So far, police have connected Brooks to three rapes, but he may ultimately be connected to more, according to authorities.
“We are still investigating to determine if he was involved in any more crimes from around that time, late 1070s and early 1980s,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Robert Fey.
In December, police reopened the decades old cold case file and positively linked Brooks to the attacks using DNA sequencing, a technology unavailable at the time of the rapes.
In 1979, the only thing linking the attacks was the balaclava the attacker wore, earning him the nickname “the ski-mask rapist.”
Brooks is currently being held in the Horry County, S.C., jail awaiting extradition to Charlotte in order to be arraigned and tried there. He is expected to arrive at the Mecklenburg County jail later today, according to a spokeswoman.
According to court records, Brooks served time in the 1980s and 1990s for various crimes including breaking and entering, safe cracking, and embezzlement. He was last released in 2005 after serving a federal sentence for armed robbery.
Authorities did not know whether Brooks had yet hired an attorney.
A man identifying himself only as Brooks’ roommate Larry, described the suspect to ABC News affiliate WPDE as “a good person, easy going and laid back.”