Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Long Eight Years

by Joyce Tremel

Back in the summers of 2000 and 2001, women in the East End of Pittsburgh were afraid to go to sleep. A man known as the East End rapist had viciously attacked four women in their homes and was still at large. On warm summer nights, he crawled through the victims' bedroom windows brandishing either a knife or a screwdriver and raped and robbed them. In one case, he beat the woman causing head trauma, along with some hearing and memory loss. Now a physician, she is afraid of the dark, and states she always will be. The other victims also suffer from the same fear.

Now eight years later, these and the East End rapist's other victims finally have some justice. On September 3, Keith O. Wood, of Highland Park was sentenced to 80 to 160 years in prison. He had been convicted in June by a jury of 6 men and 6 women.

Why after eight years, was Wood finally caught and convicted? The answer to that is DNA. All along, the investigators knew that the DNA left behind in all four rapes came from the same man. They even uncovered another case from as far back as 1988. The DNA match came about when a sample was taken in 2005 when Wood was serving time in a state prison in Cambria County. Because of a backlog in testing, it took until 2007 for a match and an arrest to be made.

Even after his conviction on overwhelming evidence (chances are 1 in 56 quintillion that the DNA belonged to someone else), Wood insisted he didn't do it.

Maybe Wood should take a statistics class while he's locked away.


Annette said...

My heart goes out to those women. However, I can't help but think prison is too good for this bastard. But it's the best we can do, I suppose.

Tory said...

Thanks, Joyce, for bringing us the latest on this case! Back last fall, I met with a guy at work whose wife is a D.A., and he mentioned the East End rapist had been found. I slept much better after that. The last place he broke into is about 3 blocks from my house.

He's the reason I put a much more secure lock system on my downstairs windows.