Wade earned the name "maintenance man" rapist because he often pretended to be a handyman to gain entry to some of his victims' apartments along the I-85 corridor of northeast Atlanta, investigators said.
"He would pour water under the door, then knock and say, 'there's a water leak,' to get the victim to open up their door," said Lou Arcangeli, another retired Atlanta police detective who worked the original case. "Or he would turn the lights out in the hallway and say there was a power outage."
He attacked five female victims between January 1986 and January 1987 and each of the cases went unsolved for nearly 20 years, authorities said.
Lead investigator on the cold case, Atlanta Detective A.B. Calhoun, said Wade was controlling and very personal when he encountered his victims, telling them that he'd been watching them and noting for them occasions where they might have unwittingly escaped him had they only made a different choice.
"He returned to two victims a second time," Calhoun told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Arcangeli chimed in.
"That we know of," Arcangeli said. "Because of the type of control he exerted, people didn't always report him."
Wade was convicted last week of rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child cruelty, burglary and robbery by intimidation in attacks against victims ranging in age from 10 to 64.
The youngest of Wade's victims, now a mother herself, told the court how his actions when she was only 10 years old affected her and her family.
The woman's voice echoed through the courtroom as she said the incident continues to plague her.
"I have flashbacks," she said. "My mother was ... saying how she wished she could've protected me. Seeing her carry that pain even to this day hurts me."
Calhoun, who once worked under Agan, said the cold case unit began working the investigation in 2007 and APD detectives working with investigators from the Fulton County District Attorney's office were able to link DNA from all five Fulton County victims with three other DeKalb and Gwinnett county victims.
In 2011, they were able to positively connect Wade to the DNA from all eight cases, investigators said.
"All we did was take 20-year-old work and went forward with it," Calhoun said.
Atlanta Police Detective Danny Agan Jr. said it was a surprise to even find out that he'd been assigned to a case that his father started investigating decades ago.
"When I started looking into it, I didn't realize that this was one of his," the younger Agan told The AJC. "Then when I got to the bottom of the report, I saw his name ... 'Danny Agan.' I called him right away."
Wade had been in federal prison in Kentucky on drug charges when investigators charged him with the Fulton County rapes, authorities said.
He also had been convicted before on separate burglary and voluntary manslaughter charges, prosecutors said.
He has been held in the Fulton County jail since August 2013, according to jail records. It is unclear where he will serve his Georgia sentence.