DNA helps convict rapist

Published 12:07 pm Thursday, May 5, 2011

Twenty-four-year-old Charlie Bernard Venisee was convicted of rape in Decatur County Superior Court this week in part thanks to DNA evidence, District Attorney Joe Mulholland said in a news release.

On Monday, May 2, Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato sentenced Venisee to 20 years, with the requirement that the first 10 years be served in prison without the possibility of parole.

Venisee had pleaded guilty.

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Venisee was convicted of a rape of a woman on Troup Street in October 2007. The victim was also robbed at knife point, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Back in 2007, investigators with Bainbridge Public Safety and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were able to retrieve a sample of the offender’s DNA from the victim. Law enforcement exhausted all leads but were unable to apprehend a suspect in the case, according to the news release.

In February 2010, Venisee’s DNA was matched to the sample taken in the 2007 rape case using a system called the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. The system is used by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to match evidence from crimes to persons in the database.

The database contains DNA profiles of persons who are either currently incarcerated in the state prison system, or those who have been released since a law setting up CODIS took effect in 2000, according to GBI spokesman John Bankhead.

Venisee had been serving prison time on other charges, according to the DA’s office.

Mulholland praised the efforts of BPS and the GBI in identifying a suspect.

“Unfortunately, offenders often escape justice due to the heightened expectations of the general public due to shows like CSI; but in this case, it worked to our advantage,” Mulholland said. “Once we were able to positively identify the offender through DNA, we knew we would be able to bring closure to the victim and keep this sexual predator away from the public for the next decade.”