Man tracked through DNA site gets 65 years in Virginia rape cases

Virginia News
(Photo: Courtesy City of Alexandria)

(Photo: Courtesy City of Alexandria)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A man who was tracked down with the help a public access DNA database and convicted of raping two lifeguards in Northern Virginia has been sentenced to 65 years in prison.

An Alexandria Circuit Court judge handed down Jesse Bjerke’s sentence Friday, radio station WTOP reported.

Bjerke issued a tearful apology in court, saying, “I am sickened by what I’ve done.”

Investigators had been at a dead-end in the case of a woman who was raped at a deserted Alexandria swimming pool in 2016, according to WTOP, when they ran the suspect’s DNA through a genealogical site called GEDmatch. That pointed to Bjerke as a suspect.

He pleaded guilty in October 2019 to six felonies, and then earlier this year pleaded no contest and was convicted in the rape of another woman, who was working as a lifeguard when she was attacked in 2014.

One of the prosecutors on the case described the steps Bjerke took to plan the attacks: “He bought zip ties, he found pools that were remote, waited for bad weather, had latex gloves, guns, ketamine. This was not a crime of impulse.”

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 80 years; Bjerke’s attorney had asked for “a couple of decades.”

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