Old evidence leads to new charges
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A Penn Hills man convicted of awakening three girls and raping them is now awaiting arraignment on charges that he raped a fourth woman after police say his DNA matched evidence taken from a victim in 1989.
Michael Lipinski, 43, is currently serving a 90- to 180-year sentence at the State Correctional Institution Smithfield in Huntingdon for three separate rapes that occurred in 1998, 2002 and 2005. Lipinski has filed an appeal in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Those cases, like the 1989 rape with which Lipinski was charged last week, hinged on the results of DNA testing. Lipinski was required to submit a DNA profile to an FBI database called Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, after he was convicted of sex assault in connection with a case in 2006 and assault in a 2008 case. After he did that, investigators matched him to the rapes of the three girls.
Pittsburgh sex assault detectives contacted the Allegheny County medical examiner's office in June to ask if they still had the evidence from a rape kit collected at Magee-Womens Hospital in March of 1989, when the CODIS system did not yet exist. A worker offered to process the DNA and learned in October that the evidence matched Lipinski, according to a criminal complaint.
Investigators contacted the victim, identified only as Jane Doe, again this month. She told them that she remembered falling asleep in her apartment on Roup Street in March of 1989 and awakening to find "a dark figure standing within five feet of her in her bedroom."
The man threatened to kill her and then taped her eyes and hands, police said. He ripped her clothes, held a lighter between her legs and then raped her, according to the complaint.
Police said the man ransacked her drawers, stole some earrings and told her to wait an hour before calling because "he would be watching her and would come back and kill her if she did not obey his orders." The woman told officers she waited about five minutes and then ran to a neighbor's door and began pounding.
Michelle Collins, the assistant public defender who represented Lipinski in the previous three rape cases said during the trial that he rejected a plea deal because "he couldn't plead guilty to something he didn't do."
Pittsburgh police have previously said that Lipinski told them he had a troubled childhood, having been removed from his home at the age of 5 and then sexually assaulted by the female companion of a Homewood preacher whom he later lived with. He said he was in and out of psychiatric hospitals for anger issues and used cocaine for many years, sometimes committing burglaries to support his habits, police said.
First Published November 13, 2012 12:21 am