DNA database leads to conviction in 2013 Texarkana rape

A Bentonville, Ark., man whose DNA identified him as the person who crawled through an elderly woman’s motel window in 2013 in Texarkana, Ark., plead guilty to sexual assault Tuesday.

Until Elrodrick Deonte Cheatham’s DNA was catalogued into a state database because of a January 2015 felony theft conviction, the July 26, 2013 rape in Texarkana went unsolved. The Texarkana victim was unable to identify her attacker. Investigators submitted DNA evidence collected from the woman’s body and bed sheets from her room at the Twilight motel for comparison to DNA samples in the state’s database.

When Cheatham, 22, was sentenced to a three-year probation in Independence County for felony theft of a credit or debit card, he was required to submit a sample of his DNA. Cheatham’s DNA was a match to the male DNA collected in July 2013. Cheatham was arrested Sept. 22 for the Texarkana offense and has been held in the Miller County jail.

Tuesday, Cheatham appeared with attorney Darren Anderson, of Texarkana, and entered a guilty plea to second degree sexual assault before Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson. Cheatham was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell represented the state.

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