Friday, May 04, 2001

Killer will face rape charges

By Janice Morse
credit The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Although a Butler County judge says an apparent omission in state law forced dismissal of an attempted murder charge, a related rape charge will proceed against a Hamilton convicted killer.

        In a decision filed Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney said a 1999 change in state law, which expanded the time limit for rape and some other felonies, allows authorities to prosecute Dustin Hendrix, 31, for a rape that a woman alleged in 1993.

        Mr. Hendrix's lawyer, Lyn Cunningham, had argued that his client's due-process rights were being violated because it's too difficult to defend a case that is so old.

        But Judge Oney said the defense failed to show that “the delay in prosecution has caused actual prejudice.”

        Under previous state law, rape cases had to be pressed within six years. The time limit is now 20 years under certain conditions.

        The law also expanded the time limit for other serious crimes, but attempted murder was not among them. Therefore Judge Oney had to dismiss an attempted-murder charge linked to the 1993 alleged rape.

        On Aug. 27, 1993, a Hamilton woman reported that a man had raped her and tried to strangle her.

        Authorities collected physical evidence, but said their investigation stagnated because the woman failed to cooperate.

        Investigators were unable to identify a suspect until the woman came forward again in 1999 and identified Mr. Hendrix as her alleged attacker.

        She had seen Mr. Hendrix's face on a TV news broadcast in connection with the slaying of Patricia Ann Barrett, 27, of Hamilton.

        Mr. Hendrix, indicted last September in connection with the 1993 incident, is serving 16 years to life for killing Ms. Barrett, a mother of two, and dumping her body in an abandoned farm shed outside Oxford.


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