Michael Sharp, the school’s former chief executive, was convicted because DNA linked him to 4 sexual assaults in 1984

A Connecticut man linked to the 1984 sexual assaults of four women by information in a genealogy database was convicted Wednesday of all eight kidnapping charges against him. A state jury in Hartford took less than an hour of deliberations to unanimously convict Michael Sharp after a five-day trial. He faces 25 to 100 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 9.

Sharp, 71, who had been released on a promise to appear in court, was held in custody after the verdicts because a judge set bail at $2.5 million.

At least two of the victims were in the courtroom and cried after the verdicts were announced, the Hartford Courant reported.

One of the victims, Jane Doe 1, who is now 63, told the paper she felt relief after nearly four decades.

“I felt strongly that we had a guilty verdict and I’m so relieved,” she told the Courant. “It’s been a long 38 years, especially the last two, and then to relive so much of it and actually talk about it to a jury in court was very difficult,” he said.

Sharpe’s public defender, Dana Sanetti, said in her closing arguments Tuesday that the only evidence linking Sharpe to the attacks was his DNA, which was only “one piece of the puzzle,” Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

Sharpe, of Marlborough, was once the CEO of a group that ran Jumoke Academy, a tuition-free charter school in Hartford.

Prosecutors said he broke into the women’s homes in four different cities and sexually assaulted them at gunpoint in June and July 1984. Investigators found DNA evidence at the homes but were unable to find a match at the time and the cases went cold. .

Police said they were able to identify Sharp as a suspect in 2020 because his relatives had provided DNA samples to the GEDmatch website. DNA samples taken from the trash outside Sharp’s home and later from his cheeks matched DNA found at the crime scenes, officials said.

“Turning to forensic genetic genealogy as a potential breakthrough for unsolved cases shows that the investigators of the Cold Case Unit never forget the victims of these crimes,” Department of Corrections District Attorney John F. Fahey, head of the cold case unit. .

Sharpe could not be charged with sexual assault because the statute of limitations had expired, but authorities were able to file kidnapping charges, which have no such time limit.

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