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Life Sentence for Sorority Rapist After Case Solved Using Forensic Genetic Genealogy


Life Sentence for Sorority Rapist After Case Solved Using Forensic Genetic Genealogy



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​District Attorney Greg Willis's office secured a life sentence for a home invasion serial rapist after the case was solved using forensic genetic genealogy. “This maximum sentence would not have been possible without the bravery of these four survivors, as well as the above and beyond cooperation and coordination of Plano, Coppell, Corinth, and Arlington police, and the Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant county district attorney offices. This was the first Collin County offender identified using the same forensic DNA technology that solved the Golden State Killer case. We're grateful for Plano Police Department's decade long dedication to cracking this case, and ultimately three other cases," stated Willis after sentencing.

 On April 2, 2011, Plano Police Department responded to a home invasion sexual assault that occurred sometime after 2 o'clock in the morning. The victim was awakened by an unknown male in her bed. She fought back during the sexual assault and in the course of doing so, her attacker's blood was transferred to a pillow case on the bed. The pillow case was collected as evidence, as was a routine sexual assault nurse examination, both of which were forensically analyzed to develop a clear suspect DNA profile.

 In September and October of 2011, Coppell Police Department (Dallas County) and Corinth Police Department (Denton County) responded to similar home invasion sexual assaults where the victims also underwent SANE exams. The unknown male profile in both of those cases was a forensic match to the suspect profile in the Plano case. Plano, Coppell, and Corinth police departments worked tirelessly for years collecting DNA from persons of interest and following up on any and all viable tips associated with these cases. The suspect was even the subject of an FBI's America's Most Wanted episode.

 In 2018, Arlington Police Department (Tarrant County) sent sexual assault kits on unsolved cases for additional testing in hopes that advancements in DNA technology would result in new leads. This uncovered evidence from a 2003 home invasion sexual assault case that also matched to the same offender from all three 2011 cases.

 In 2018, Detective Daniel Bryeans became the lead cold case investigator assigned to the case for Plano PD.  Bryeans, assisted by Plano PD analyst Jane Clements, spent the next two years working with genetic genealogy laboratories and conducting hundreds of hours of genealogical research to narrow in on a person of interest.

 Ultimately, that research, along with forensic testing, lead to the arrest of Jeffery Wheat, 52, of Lexington, Mississippi, for the first degree Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Sex Assault.  Wheat was working as a long-haul truck driver in Mississippi at the time of his arrest. However, Wheat had been living in the DFW area during the time periods of all four of the offenses. Plano's investigation revealed that each of the 2011 victims was a member of the same sorority and that the sorority had used a credit card processing company that employed Wheat and would have given him access to personal identifying information. It was due to this connection of the three 2011 victims that Wheat was dubbed the “Sorority Rapist" by the police agencies and the media in the early stages of investigation.

 On Tuesday, February 27th, three of the survivors appeared in court for the sentencing hearing and gave their victim impact statements, confronted their attacker, and described the trauma they endured.

 Judge Angela Tucker imposed the sentence secured by prosecutors – Life in prison.

 Assistant Criminal District Attorneys Calli Bailey and Dewey Mitchell prosecuted the case, aided by District Attorney Investigator Stephanie Strickland.

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Created at 2/27/2024 12:06 PM by Derrick Jackson
Last modified at 3/4/2024 11:16 AM by Derrick Jackson