Atlanta rapist captured near Houston

U.S. Marshals caught the so-called pantyhose rapist early Monday at a Marriott Courtyard  in Pearland, Texas, just outside of Houston, a week after he slipped out of the electronic monitoring device around his ankle.

"This guy is a threat to society any time he's outside prison walls. This was a dangerous, dangerous individual," said Lt. Col. Jeff Holmes of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, which was responsible for Ali Nejad while he was free on bond.

Nejad disappeared some time after the Georgia Supreme Court reversed an appeals court decision that temporarily freed him. The Supreme Court determined that Nejad should be returned to prison to finish serving his 35-year sentence for rape.

According to court testimony, Nejad, 38, would take his victims at gunpoint to secluded areas in Midtown, force them to put on torn pantyhose and assault them, prosecutors said. He was convicted in Fulton County in 2005 of raping two women.

During the trial, several women who worked as prostitutes along Ponce de Leon Avenue testified about other incidents involving Nejad dating to 1997.

Nejad appealed his conviction to the Georgia Court of Appeals, citing ineffective assistance of council because he was not told he could testify in his defense, and he was released on a $100,000 bond.

There was a dispute over whether a pellet gun Nejad used could be considered a "deadly weapon." The Georgia Supreme Court said it could if the victims believed it was a real gun. The court also determined that the trial judge had told Nejad he could testify.

After the Supreme Court released its decision, Nejad slipped out of the ankle bracelet; it was not cut, according to U.S. Marshal Richard Mecum.

Mecum said the search for Nejad began in earnest last Monday night, though authorities did not alert the the public until later in the week.

Mecum declined to say how marshals tracked Nejad to the hotel room or why he fled to Texas, considering that he does not have family there. He said it was "certainly something to consider" that Nejad may have been heading to the U.S. border with Mexico about 750 miles away.

Mecum said details about Nejad's time on the run were still being gathered, but it was suspected that he drove to Texas. Nejad's return to Georgia has not been worked out.