Friday, March 19, 2004

Letter said 'Try to catch me'; cops did

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - A man who mailed police a letter that contained his DNA and thumbprint was convicted of three counts of rape, and the jury recommended that he be sentenced to 420 years in prison.

John Boston, 41, will be sentenced April 26. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

Two years ago, police received a letter from the suspect, complete with a thumbprint in ink; pictures showing him at the Canadian border; and a sample of the man's DNA, taken from the envelope flap he had licked.

The letter, signed John Boston, told investigators they would never catch him, police said. But the letter eventually sealed Boston's fate.

He was arrested after the DNA sample from the envelope was matched with DNA obtained during the investigation of one of three rapes in Louisville in 1994 and 1995. In the letter, Boston told police he was guilty only of being a parole violator.

But a jury Wednesday convicted Boston on three counts of first-degree rape, first-degree robbery and burglary. He was also convicted of being a persistent felony offender.

His three victims cried and hugged one another as each charge came back guilty.

The husband of one of the women called police every year asking about the status of the case.

After one of these calls, a few years ago, police pulled the woman's case file and investigators found two similar cases, one in 1994 and another in 1995, in which Boston had been a suspect.

Police needed not only to find Boston but also to get a sample of his DNA, but didn't have enough proof to get a warrant.

But then Boston mailed a letter and photos to police and the commonwealth's attorney's office, showing himself and a girlfriend on the Canadian border at Michigan. Boston sent the letter because he knew they were talking to his family and looking for him because of a parole violation, according to police and prosecutors.

"He was taunting us," said Louisville Metro Police Maj. Joe Richardson. "His arrogance led to his demise. We can be thankful for that."

"He was telling us he wasn't around here so quit looking for him," Richardson added.

The letter gave police the probable cause they needed. And the mailings allowed investigators to call in the FBI, who found Boston in Dallas on April 25, 2002, about a month after he sent his letter.

Using the letter, police matched Boston's DNA with that obtained from a victim after one of the assaults. And the fingerprint matched one that Metro Corrections had for Boston, who had been convicted of numerous felonies, prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne said.

During his eight-day trial, Boston testified that he had consensual sex with one of the women - the case in which police had DNA evidence - and did not have sex with the other two. He said he was shocked by the rape allegations.

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