DNA leads to new charges in five 1980s Midtown rapes

The pins in this map show the locations of the alleged attacks by Ozie Banks. Prosecutors today charged Banks, convicted of previous Midtown rapes, with five more sexual assaults. Banks has also been a suspect in other rapes for which he was never charged. Banks is serving a prison sentence, and could now face far more time.

Posted by Joe Lambe

A man convicted of two previous Midtown rapes has been charged with sexual assaults on five more women here from 1986 to 1989.

Recent DNA tests linked the crimes to Ozie Banks, 55, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced today.

The charges are the latest against a rapist who terrorized women in Midtown for at least four years. Court records also show he was a suspect in other rapes in Midtown for which he was not charged.

The recent charges are the second against Banks based on cold case DNA testing.

In 2004, he was about to be released from prison for a 1990 rape when prosecutors charged him in an unusual case – the 1986 rape and sodomy of a Midtown woman who had since died.

In that case, police said he woke the 27-year-old woman at knifepoint in her Westport area apartment and told her he had killed her 11-year-old son and would kill her if she resisted.

He choked her, repeatedly assaulted her and cut her phone line. The victim died of natural causes in 1990 but prosecutors were able to make their case with DNA, medical records and other evidence.

A Jackson County judge convicted Banks of rape and sodomy and sentenced him to 100 years. A Missouri appeals court ruling reduced that to 60 years – and revealed some interesting information.

Banks was a suspect in other 1990 sexual assaults in the Westport area that could not be charged.

Prosecutors agreed in a 1991 plea deal to charge only one of the 1990 rapes because evidence in the others had been tainted by police misconduct, the ruling states.

So in 1991, Banks pleaded guilty to rape and armed criminal action for the one 1990 attack on a woman in the Westport area and to two unrelated burglaries. He was sentenced to 20 years.

Those were the crimes he was about to be paroled on in 2004 when the first DNA hit resulted in charges for the 1986 rape and sodomy.

The new DNA-based charges allege he entered the homes of five rape victims ranging from 13 to 41 years of age.

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