0

Man gets life in 2004 rape case

By Michael Davis

mdavis@news-daily.com

A man already serving a sentence for rape in Ohio was convicted Friday of a 2004 rape in Morrow, after DNA evidence collected years later linked him to the attack, prosecutors said.

Nelson Mickens, Jr., was sentenced to life in prison -- to be served when his 10 years in Ohio are up -- after being convicted on charges of rape and aggravated assault in the 2004 attack behind a Jonesboro Road motel, according to Clayton County Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Thurston. Thurston said a jury acquitted Mickens of a kidnapping charge related to the case.

Mickens' DNA was entered into a national database after a rape was reported in Franklin County, Ohio, in July 2007, according to Thurston. The victim, an exotic dancer, later recognized her attacker when he visited the club where she worked. Mickens was arrested in August of that year. His identity was linked to the DNA profile in the rape case, and entered into the database, Thurston said.

He said authorities here learned that the DNA profile in their 2004 case matched the Ohio case and traveled to Columbus to get a DNA sample from Mickens to compare with their evidence.

The victim in the Morrow attack, which originated at a Chevron gas station on Jonesboro Road, was reportedly forced into Mickens' car as she attempted to give him directions to Southlake Mall, Thurston said. From there, Mickens reportedly drove her behind a nearby motel and raped her in his car.

Thurston said the victim was then driven back to the Chevron and forced from the car.

He said the victim reported the attack to Morrow police and DNA evidence was collected through a sexual-assault kit. Thurston said the victim was unable to provide a detailed description of her attacker.

"The case went cold for three years," Thurston said.

He said a special Crimes Against Women unit established by Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson worked on the prosecution of the case, and that Assistant District Attorney Lisa Wells reached out to alleged victims involved in other cases against Mickens in Georgia and Windsor, Ontario.

Thurston said Mickens was convicted on a stalking charge in Gwinnett County in May 2007, and was accused of crimes of a sexual nature in Canada in 1998, and in DeKalb County in 2004.

Through the Crimes Against Women unit "she [Wells] had the luxury of tracking down different victims from Gwinnett County and DeKalb County. She attempted to contact the victim from Columbus, Ohio, and she did contact the victim from Windsor, Ontario," he said.

Mickens' attorney, Kenneth Ellis, declined to comment on the case and deferred to Clayton Judicial Circuit Public Defender Christine Van Dross. Van Dross could not be reached Friday evening.