A suspected serial rapist in Clayton County sexually assaulted a woman for two hours while she was nine months pregnant, officials said in court Tuesday.
Kenneth Bowen III, 24, was arrested after forensic evidence allegedly linked him to seven rapes and one case of sexual battery since 2015, AJC.com previously reported.
Clayton County police Detective Michelle Alston recounted the chilling assault, as well as the other seven attacks, during Bowen’s preliminary hearing, Channel 2 Action News reported.
“She stated that a knife was put to her throat,” Alston said. “Her 1-year-old child was in the bed with her when she was assaulted.”
Alston said the woman didn’t fight back because she was afraid her baby would be harmed. The victim told Channel 2 she asked for mercy because of her pregnancy and it didn’t faze him.
“I have no sympathy for him,” she said, “because he had none for me.”
Alston said in a different case that Bowen punched an 8-year-old in order to escape. She said Bowen assaulted the child’s mother and the child was trying to help.
“The offender then punched the child in the stomach before the child fell to the ground,” she said. “He stepped over the child and fled from the residence.”
Clayton investigators said Bowen was briefly employed as a police recruit in the county and that the background information he provided helped to link him to the sex crimes.
“Had he not attempted to join ranks in the Clayton County Police Department, it is questionable as to when we would have apprehended him,” police Chief Kevin Roberts previously said.
Bowen was hired by the department in June 2018, Roberts said. He was fired less than three months later after he arrived at training nearly four hours late and was not truthful to supervising officers about where he was during that time, Roberts said.
Police previously said the suspected rapist targeted black women between the ages of 19 and 39.
Five of the rapes happened between July 2015 and May 2017, police said. All but one woman lived in apartment or townhouse complexes in Clayton County, in the area of Battle Creek Road between Jonesboro and Riverdale.
Victims gave investigators details about the attacker and a GBI forensic artist created multiple sketches based on the accounts, according to Lt. Thomas Reimers, an investigator in Clayton County.
“We realized that it’s possible that if he was committing these crimes, breaking into women’s windows and assaulting people by buildings near their apartment complexes, then somebody over the last few years must have talked to police and said, ‘This guy is a suspicious person in the area,’” he said.
Investigators started reviewing 911 calls reporting suspicious people near the area where the attacks took place. Reimers said detectives reviewed the calls to see if officers had made contact with any of the suspicious people and then got names and birthdays of those people.
Bowen’s name and birthday was among those names related to a call from 2016, Reimers said. When investigators obtained a photo of Bowen, they saw a striking similarity between his visage and the GBI sketch of the suspected rapist, he said.
They then revisited the incident reports filed after the attacks to see if any of the details pointed to Bowen. Victims had told police the attacker had tattoos on his right arm and had left in a gray car with tinted windows. Police found that Bowen had a silver Ford Focus with tinted windows, Reimers said.
While trying to determine if Bowen had tattoos, investigators dug into his social media accounts and found a photo of him with a family member who was dressed in a Clayton County police uniform. That detail, in turn, led investigators to the discovery that Bowen had also worked for the police department.
“And through looking at background information provided, we determined that he reportedly had tattoos on his arm,” Reimers said.
Officials said the attacks all happened within a two-mile radius of where Bowen lived.
Police previously linked the suspected rapist to another attack where a man tried to sexually assault a woman after breaking into her apartment. There was no DNA evidence connecting that case to the other attacks, but authorities said the method used by the suspect was similar.
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