Rape mystery solved

October 30, 2009 8:35:56 PM PDT
For more than ten years, Carol Dickerson kept her ordeal a secret. One day she decided to go public, to tell the story of her brutal rape in the interest of passing tougher laws.

"The one thing I decided not to be anymore is embarrassed," she explained.

Fourteen years ago, Carol Dickerson and her husband Stan were held up at gunpoint. Stan was thrown in the trunk of their car, leaving Carol alone with their attacker.

At a restaurant in Bayside, she relived that horrible night.

"Put a gun in my back, directed me across the street to a field and raped me," Dickerson said.

Their attacker was wearing a mask and the case went unsolved. The details of that night on the Jamaica street corner were something that Carol kept secret until she met the 12-year old girl who had been raped by the same man, 8 years later.

"Which let me know this was a real creep. A real monster," she said.

Carol was inspired to share her story to lobby state lawmakers to pass a law requiring DNA samples from all convicted felons. Little did Carol know that the law she helped pass would track down 44 year-old Richard Thomas, who serving a 3-year prison sentence on an unrelated charge.

"In thinking I was helping other people, I ultimately ended up helping myself," she said.

Thanks to overwhelming DNA evidence, Thomas was convicted this week of both rapes and faces up to 75 years in prison.

"I'm relieved that there's closure in our case and hopefully this will help solve other cases," Stan Dickerson said.

Case was so overwhelming that the jury reached a verdict in 19 minutes. The Dickersons aren't done either. They want DNA samples taken for every misdemeanor charge too.

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