• CMPD cold case unit seeks funding for rape cases

    By: Mark Becker


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The victim of a serial rapist in Charlotte is sharing emotional details about the crime and the group of investigators that finally brought her justice.
    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Cold Case Unit has reviewed more than 2,000 cases and cleared about 150, but the unit is still looking for its next grant.

    And now, a victim they helped is hoping to help them find the money to keep going.

    She waited more than 30 years before the cold case unit found the man who attacked her and she told an Eyewitness News reporter Tuesday how they gave her life back.

    “You fear every day,” Amy Outen said.

    Outen wondered if the fear would ever end and if police would ever find the man in the ski mask who attacked her.

    “After about a year, I realized nothing's going to happen. They're not going to find him,” Outen said. “34 years later, I got a business card on my door from the cold case unit in Charlotte.”

    At the time, Outen didn't know there was a cold case unit but she learned that they used DNA to identify Jerry Lee Brooks as the man who attacked her and two other women.

    Detectives said there could be more victims and as part of a plea deal, Brooks agreed to give the names to about five other women he raped.

    Outen said the cold case rape unit is changing lives, doing justice and saving lives.

    She said the fact that they're still trying to find funding doesn't make sense.

    “How are you going to fund other programs and not fund the cold case unit that is saving people's lives? That is helping people?” Outen said.

    The police department has decided to fund the cold case unit until it can get another grant, but any new grant will probably be smaller than the one it had. That means the department will have to find the money to make up the difference.

    Brooks was sentenced to life in prison but because he was sentenced under the law in place in 1979, he will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

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