Robert Koehler, an alleged serial rapist, was arrested in 1990 for rape, pleaded guilty, and then, inexplicably, was let free without jail time. Law enforcement now believes that Koehler is the pillowcase rapist, saying that his DNA has shown up at 25 different crime scenes all of which involved rape.
Instead of prison time for the 1990 rape, Koehler was given 18 months of house arrest and 6.5 years probation. He served 120 days in jail after violating the terms of his house arrest in 1991. He was given another 6 months of house arrest and his probation was extended to 7 years.
1990 Rape Occurred in Palm Beach
Arrest and court records show that Koehler for raping a woman in her Palm Beach apartment. According to the police officer, who is now retired, that arrested Koehler, he admitted to having sex with the woman but claimed the sex was consensual. The victim was unable to identify Koehler because he had placed a pillowcase or shirt over her face while he was raping her. At the time, there was no DNA database that law enforcement could use to track down perpetrators of sex crimes.
The prosecutor was forced into the position of extending Koehler a deal based on the lack of evidence, and that’s how he ended up with 18 months of house arrest.
Is Koehler the Pillowcase Rapist?
Authorities say that they have linked Koehler to 25 rapes using DNA evidence. The majority of these rapes took place in the 1980s. At first, the database was only able to link Koehler to one 1983 crime scene, but subsequent searches showed that Koehler’s DNA matched a number of crime scenes from 1981 to 1986. The suspect in these cases became known as the pillowcase rapist.
The pillowcase rapist is believed to have attacked over 40 women in the Miami area. One of the reasons why the 1990 case was never tied to the others is because it occurred in the Town of Palm Beach.
In Koehler’s home, authorities say that he was constructing a dungeon and they found several safes containing jewelry and other mementos from his crimes.
Breakthrough in the Case
A key breakthrough in the case occurred when Koehler’s son was arrested in an unrelated domestic violence case. The son’s DNA was similar enough to the perpetrator or the pillowcase rapist crimes that authorities had reason to believe that the pillowcase rapist was related. Police began watching the elder Koehler’s home and were able to obtain touch-DNA evidence. The sample analysis led to an arrest warrant which led to better DNA evidence. If convicted, it is unlikely that Koehler will ever see the outside of prison cell again.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help you raise a valid defense to the charges and protect you from overzealous prosecutors or speculative evidence. Talk to us today to learn more.