CMPD charges man in 2 sexual assault cold cases from the '90s

CMPD charges man in 2 sexual assault cold cases from the '90s

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said a man already charged in a sexual assault cold case has been identified as the suspect in another investigation from the '90s.

Back in April, police charged L J Bertha, 59, with second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and common law robbery in a 1995 case.

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Investigators said the 16-year-old victim was walking toward a payphone on Dunbar Street in uptown Charlotte to call her mother when the suspect approached and offered to show her where the phone was.

Officials said the man then grabbed the victim, pulled her into some bushes and sexually assaulted her. They said he took money and left the scene.

CMPD said it tested the sexual assault kit in 1996 and did additional testing on it in 2018 as part of a federal grant. Detectives said DNA evidence identified Bertha as the suspect.

On Thursday, police announced DNA testing also revealed Bertha as the suspect in a sexual assault that happened on July 30, 1994.

Police said the 32-year-old victim was walking on Beatties Ford Road when Bertha approached her and forced her to a dead-end road. They said he sexually assaulted the woman while armed with a razor.

The victim escaped and ran to a nearby convenience store, where the clerk called police.

Police said DNA testing was done in 1994 but it was additional testing in 2019 that identified Bertha as the suspect.

Bertha was arrested on Thursday and charged with two counts of first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping.