Thank you so much for this. I did know about the central case that is being discussed in the article, because I had seen a crime investigation program about it.
This is the part I didn't know about, also bolding below something new I have learned:
Three More Hits
Brennan never doubted that Jones was a rapist, and given what he had observed, first on the surveillance video and then after meeting him in person, he was convinced that sexual assault was Jones’s pastime.
“This ain’t a one-****ing-time deal,” Brennan told Foote. “I’m telling you, this is this guy’s thing. He’s got a job that sends him all over the country. Watch him on that video. He’s slick. Nonchalant. He’s too cool, too calm. You’ll see it when you put his DNA into the system.”
The “system” is the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The F.B.I.-administered database now has well over eight million DNA offender profiles. Local, state, and federal law-enforcement officials routinely enter DNA samples recovered from convicts and from the scenes and victims of unsolved crimes, and over the years the system has electronically matched more than 100,000 of them, often reaching across surprising distances in place and time. It means that when a DNA sample exists a case can never be classified as entirely “cold.”
Michael Lee Jones had left a trail. The Miami-Dade police entered Jones’s DNA into CODIS in late 2006, and several months later, which is how long it takes the F.B.I. to double-check matches the system finds electronically, three new hits came up.Detective Terry Thrumston, of the Colorado Springs Police Department sex-crimes unit, had a rape-and-assault case that had been bugging her for more than a year. The victim was a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman who had been picked up early in the morning on December 1, 2005, by a stranger—a very large black man with glasses, who had offered her a ride and then talked his way into her apartment and raped her, holding his hand tightly over her mouth. Thrumston had no leads, and the case had sat for two years until DNA collected from the victim matched that of Michael Lee Jones.
There were two victims in New Orleans. One of them, also a blonde, had been partying in the French Quarter a little too hard, by her own admission, and very early on the morning of May 5, 2003, she had gone looking for a cab back to her hotel when a very large black man with glasses pulled his car over to the curb and offered her a ride. As she later testified, he drove her to a weedy lot and raped her. He pressed his large hand powerfully over her face as he attacked her, and she testified that she bit his palm so hard that she had bits of his skin in her teeth afterward. When he was finished, he drove off, leaving her on the lot. She reported the rape to the New Orleans police, who filed her account and took DNA samples from the rapist’s semen. The case had sat until CODIS matched the specimen with Michael Lee Jones. The other New Orleans victim told a similar tale, but failed to pick Jones’s face out of a photo lineup.
Jones, it turns out, had been in both Colorado Springs and New Orleans on the dates in question. So in 2008, as his Florida sentence drew to a close, he was flown to Colorado Springs to stand trial. It was a novel prosecution, because the Colorado woman had died in the interim, of causes unrelated to the crime. As a result, Deputy District Attorney Brien Cecil had no victim to put on the stand. Instead he fashioned a case out of two of the other rapes, calling as witnesses the Miami victim and one of the New Orleans victims, both of whom supplemented the DNA evidence by pointing out Jones as their attacker in the courtroom. Cecil argued that their cases showed a “common plan, scheme, or design” that was as much Jones’s signature as his trail of semen.
The New Orleans victim proved to be a very effective witness. Her memory was clear and her statements emphatic, the outrage still evident six years later, along with her chagrin at the poor judgment she had displayed that night.