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DNA leads to arrest of suspect in 2 Las Vegas rapes years apart

A Las Vegas man is facing sexual assault charges after DNA linked him to two rapes in Las Vegas — one in 2000 and one in 2014.

Luther Walker, 52, was arrested Sept. 25, almost 20 years after the first assault.

On May 20, 2000, a woman told Metropolitan Police Department officers that she’d been sexually assaulted in a dirt lot near the Las Vegas Convention Center. She said she’d been fighting with her fiancé and had walked to a nearby bar to cool off, according to a crime report.

At the bar, she had a few shots of whiskey and gambled, she told police, before returning home and resuming the argument. According to the report, she left a second time around 11 or 11:30 p.m. to take a walk.

She told police that while she was walking through a dirt lot near the convention center, she was attacked from behind and pushed to the ground. The man who attacked her undressed her and raped her from behind, according to the report. The woman told police she did not think her attacker wore a condom.

She said she called the Rape Crisis Center hotline after the assault and went to University Medical Center the next morning to get a sexual assault kit done.

Doctors at the center were able to identify a DNA sample, which they sent to the National DNA Index System in June 2000.

The second attack occurred Sept. 25, 2014, when a woman told police she woke up naked on a “nasty mattress” in an unknown place, surrounded by people, according to a crime report. She said she didn’t remember anything, and she felt like she had been drugged.

The woman said she was on vacation when she got in a fight with her boyfriend, who bought her a plane ticket home.

She said she drank two vodka cranberry cocktails at a McCarran International Airport bar while waiting for her flight, but when she boarded a flight attendant told her she’d need to deplane because she was too intoxicated. The woman told police she didn’t feel like she was intoxicated, but rather that everything was blurry and “in slow motion,” the report said.

The woman told police she didn’t remember anything between trying to hail a cab at the airport and waking up naked. She said she could not move at all when she woke up, and she felt like she had been drugged. Eventually she was able to get dressed and take a cab to UMC.

Doctors also recovered a DNA sample from the victim and sent it to the DNA index.

The DNA from the second victim was matched in November 2018 with the sample from the first victim, both of which matched the DNA of Walker.

Walker was in the Clark County Detention Center for another offense when police interviewed him. He told them, “I never raped nobody.”

He remained in custody on $250,000 bail on Wednesday. His next court appearance is set for Thursday.

Contact Alexis Egeland at aegeland@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexis_egeland on Twitter.

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