A neighborhood watch volunteer suspected of raping as many as nine women in Dallas this summer has been arrested in Baton Rouge today. Van Draylan Dixson has been linked to four of the attacks via DNA tests, and police are awaiting the results of DNA tests from two others. Authorities also acknowledge that Dixson was accused of a similar crime in the 1990s, but that case had to be dropped when his accuser was struck by lightning.
The prosecutor in that case, Colleen Skinner, told the San Antonio Express-News that her “hands were tied. Even if the rape kit had shown [Dixson] was the perpetrator, I would need a witness to tell the jury that it wasn’t consensual. I would need a witness to tell me, ‘He forced me.’ I would need a witness to testify, ‘It happened in Dallas County.’”
In both that case and those from this summer, Dixson is alleged to have brandished a handgun, led the woman to a secluded area, then robbed and sexually assaulted her.
As a block captain in the Mill City Community Association and Crime Watch, Dixson patrolled the very streets from which he allegedly abducted his victims. He even wrote for the Watch’s newsletter, imploring fellow citizens that:
If you are concerned about how our neighborhood looks, and about the crime, come voice your concerns. Every voice is needed to make a change. No one will help us if we won’t help ourselves. It’s time to draw the line against crime. Let’s clean up all the trash and make Mill City look like a neighborhood that we can call be proud to call our own.
Neighbor Billy Washington told Dallas’s WFAA that he would walk the streets “every night, all night. Every time I would look out the window, or out my door, he was walking.”
“He would have on his basketball shorts and his T-shirt, and he would have his weapon, of course,” said a neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. “He would just be patrolling our neighborhood.”
Dixson is expected to be returned to Dallas to be formerly charged later this afternoon.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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