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Acquitted Rapist Arrested On Rape Charges

Prosecutor who botched first case to try again

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It looks like accused rapist Donnie Alexander Rodgers and prosecutor Amanda Mingo will soon match wits again. So far, the score is 1-0 in Rodgers' favor.

Last year, Creative Loafing first told the story of Rodgers' trial for the September 2000 rape of a woman in the Elizabeth neighborhood after the accused rapist and his lawyer ran circles around Mingo, who neglected to research or introduce key evidence in the case. The confused jury set Rodgers free. Some members of the jury later said they hated to acquit Rodgers, but that Mingo hadn't made a convincing case.

Then last week, police arrested Rodgers for a 1998 rape, based, in a brutal irony, on DNA evidence taken from the woman in the first case.

District Attorney Peter Gilchrist says Mingo will again prosecute the case, which was nearly identical to the 2000 case.

"I have complete confidence in Amanda Mingo," Gilchrist said last week.

The victim from the 2000 case and her family don't share Gilchrist's enthusiasm for Mingo's prosecutorial abilities. They say they were dismayed to learn that Mingo would again be handling a rape case involving Rodgers.

In that trial last year, Rodgers talked his way out of a rape conviction by convincing a jury that he didn't break into the woman's home and rape her, as the prosecution claimed. Rodgers instead claimed he knew the victim because he'd met her while she was dancing on the bar at a Charlotte nightclub. He claimed she called him late one night, invited him into her Elizabeth home and seduced him.

An investigation last year by CL proved that Rodgers' timeline was impossible by verifying that the woman couldn't have called him from her home as he claimed. The manager at the restaurant where she worked verified she'd been at work during the timeframe Rodgers claimed she'd called him from her home. Other individuals verified she'd later been seen at Thomas Street Tavern after work.

Because the prosecution didn't verify the victim's whereabouts or check phone company records, the jury was left to decide who was telling the truth. Did the two have consensual sex before her roommates arrived home in the early morning hours, or did he break in just before dawn while her roommates were asleep in the next room and rape her at gunpoint? Without all the facts before them, Rodgers' explanation seemed at least plausible.

At the moment, Rodgers, 38, is being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail on charges of first-degree sexual offense, first-degree burglary and first degree kidnapping. According to police reports, the victim was asleep in her apartment on the 2600 block of Park Road when Rodgers allegedly broke into her home and sexually assaulted her.


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