Phoenix police arrest suspect in serial rapist case

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Tyler Baldwin

Posted on May 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 12 at 8:36 AM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a suspect in the South Phoenix serial rapist case.

Dejuan Donaldson, 18, was arrested at approximately 10:45 a.m. Wednesday at a Fry's store near Seventh Street and Baseline Road.

Police have been searching for the suspect responsible for sexually assaulting three girls since November.

A South Mountain High School student was attacked April 25 while she was walking to school near Seventh Street and Carson Road. Police said the 17-year-old was taken at knifepoint into an abandoned home and raped.

Police believe the same suspect is responsible for previous attacks on a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl in November and January.

Both of those cases took place in South Phoenix between Seventh and 19th avenues. One victim was sexually assaulted on her way to school and the other on her way home.

In each case, the girls were walking alone and were attacked by a man described as African-American, approximately 20 years old, tall, thin with a deep voice.

“We had different kinds of evidence and one thing we had was DNA linked to all three cases,” said Phoenix police Cmdr. Robert Demlong.

His parents believe he’s been framed.

“I think they just want to make an arrest and solve this case right now, that’s what I think,” said Charise Hatchett, the suspect’s mom.

“He was living in the neighborhood where the first assault occurred,” Demlong said. “Later we learned through canvassing the neighborhood that he moved and was living right across the street from the third attack.”

Donaldson is facing 13 felony counts, including sexual assault, sexual abuse, kidnapping, aggravated assault and arson. Police believe he may have started a fire in an effort to destroy evidence.

“If it turns out his DNA is a match, I truly apologize for everything he has done because I'm the one who raised him and I didn't raise him like that,” Hatchett said.

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