Markeith Martin was arrested by Daytona Beach police Friday.
Photo: Daytona Beach Police Department
Photo: Daytona Beach Police Department

DNA leads to arrest of suspected serial rapist in Florida, police say

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Daytona Beach police said the man is connected to at least five rapes, and potentially has even more victims.

Officers arrested Markeith Martin, 44, on Friday, and a look into his past shows a long criminal history, dating back decades.

Martin is charged in a rape that happened last summer in Daytona Beach, but police said with at least five known victims, they are working to file more charges in those other cases.

"To me, he's a sexual predator,” Daytona Beach police Chief Craig Capri said. “This guy's a serial rapist. He's going around hunting women and attacking women. And thank God they're alive."

Authorities said Martin confessed to an attack that happened last August.

Police said the victim had stopped to work on her bicycle.

Martin grabbed her by the throat, threatened repeatedly to stab her and then raped her, police said.

The victim said Martin became apologetic afterward, and even said, "Do you think I'm a bad person for what I've done?"

There are three other cases in Daytona Beach and another in Holly Hill that police said they connected to the suspect through DNA.

"The common pattern here is to attack women, to rape them and to strangle them, to get violent with them," Capri said.

WFTV found an arrest record dating back more than 20 years for other crimes. Records show Martin has 23 felonies and 21 misdemeanors, including numerous drug charges, domestic violence, battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He has a total of 15 convictions.

Court records show Martin was arrested in 2014 for sexual battery. The State Attorney's Office said they were unable to locate the victim to testify in court, so the charges were reduced to aggravated assault.

Martin served 37 months in prison but was not required to register as a sex offender.

Police are asking any other potential victims to come forward.

Martin is set to make a first appearance before a judge Saturday morning.

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