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DNA match results in arrest for old rape, torture case

Jul 17, 2006 | CONTRA COSTA TIMES A DNA match has enabled Alameda County Sheriff's deputies to arrest a convicted rapist in connection with three East Bay sexual assaults that occurred in the early 1990s, one of which involved torture.

James Dwayne Smith, 45, is already serving time at the San Luis Obispo Men's Colony for a rape conviction in Southern California. He has been extradited to Alameda County to face a torture charge for a 1991 case in which a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and tortured in unincorporated Hayward, according to a sheriff's news release.

Smith will not be charged for the kidnapping and rape in that case because the statute of limitations has passed. There is a 10-year time limit on filing sex crimes and a six-year limit on kidnapping charges, said Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek.

A match with the three rape cases occurred on March, 15 years after the crimes occurred.

There is no time limit, however, on prosecuting torture cases.

Smith's DNA also was a match with evidence from a Dec. 31, 1990 rape case in Castro Valley and that from a Jan. 23, 1991 case in Berkeley. Investigators cannot seek charges on those cases because of the statute of limitations has expired on both.

Dudek said the victims said they're happy someone already in prison is a suspect, but they think it may be a time to reexamine the statue of limitations for heinous crimes.

Dudek couldn't agree more.

"We have the scientific technology to make biological DNA hits on these cases. What's more serious than being raped and kidnapped?" Dudek said.

Smith may be whom the media dubbed the "Holiday Rapist," who in 1990 and 1991 raped at least five victims in the Bay Area on or near holidays. Dudek said. The rapist would grab his victims as they were walking and pull them into his van

Smith was in the Bay Area at the time, working at a local grocery store chain, Dudek said.

He was scheduled to be released in December and investigators are glad to get him when they did..

"We're very happy that he doesn't totally walk in December," Dudek said.

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