CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — A man who admitted breaking into homes and raping six women in Charlotte's Myers Park and Elizabeth neighborhoods will serve at least 34 years in prison.
Gilbert McNair pleaded guilty Tuesday to the series of rapes that started in 1990 and ended in 1998. Cold case rape detectives had developed McNair as a suspect only after he was arrested for an unrelated break-in in 2008. Break-in detectives took a DNA sample from McNair that matched DNA evidence from the rape cases.
"Out of nowhere, we're able to take some of the things that were done at these scenes years ago and bring a person to justice," said Detective Troy Armstrong.
Armstrong contacted the victims in 2009 after he had arrested McNair and long after many of the victims had given up hope that they would ever know who had attacked them.
"I did. I did give up hope," one of the victims, Erin, who now lives in Asheville, told Eyewitness News on Tuesday. "I do think that I've been able to come full circle and look him in the eye and say what I wanted to say."
She had told McNair in court that she forgives him, but only because she needs to forgive him to move on with her life. But several other victims were not ready to forgive.
"You will never be able to understand what you have done to all of us," one of the victims told McNair. "You don't deserve forgiveness."
McNair did apologize to his victims, saying his words cannot change anything.
"I cannot take back the horror that I have caused them," he said.