UPDATE: Robert S. Bernardi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

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Normal UPDATE: Robert S. Bernardi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:46 pm

November 15, 2011

ENGLEWOOD — DNA collected under a new state law has led to the arrest of a 44-year-old man accused of crawling through an open window and raping a 14-year-old girl in her bed in 2001.

On July 1, the portion of Senate Bill 77 that required the DNA swabbing went into effect. On July 2, Miami County sheriff’s deputies arrested Robert S. Bernardi in the abduction of a 15-year-old girl.

He was charged with aggravated menacing and unlawful restraint, according to court records. Deputies collected a sample of his DNA and three days later, he was released on bond.

Last Wednesday, Bernardi’s DNA was matched to DNA found at the scene of the 2001 Englewood rape. By Friday, he was in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1 million cash bond on charges of aggravated burglary and rape in the attack on a 14-year-old girl.

Once police were informed of the DNA match, Sgt. Mike Lang said Englewood police immediately began tracking Bernardi, who was driving a semi from Ohio to the East Coast. He was pulled over in London, Ohio, and arrested Friday.

“This is one of the first cases in Montgomery County where a perpetrator has been identified as a result of the new DNA collection law,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Monday.

Dan Tierney of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said of those arrested on felonies since July 1, 52 forensic DNA profiles have been matched to open cases.

In the Englewood case, Lang said the victim was asleep in her bedroom when her attacker removed a screen from an open window, entered the room and attacked her.

“It was a ranch-style house. It was a warm night, and all the windows were open,” Lang said. “The attack occurred while her parents and a sister were asleep. Another sister was on the phone, but didn’t hear anything.”

He said the victim was able to give police a detailed description of her attacker.

Lang said Bernardi had previously lived in the victim’s neighborhood but had moved prior to the victim’s family moving in.

“My first phone call was to her,” the sergeant said. “She was amazed that after 10 years we had found her attacker.”

The law that allowed for Bernardi’s DNA to be taken after his arrest and tested this year also expanded DNA testing for inmates, added protocols for evidence storage and offered incentives for the recording of interrogations.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is concerned about taking DNA from people who have been arrested and not convicted.

“This is a search without a warrant,” staff attorney Carrie Davis said. “The main concern is that potential for abuse.”

Davis mentioned “DNA dragnets,” in which detectives would arrest people knowing they didn’t have the evidence to support those arrests, but hoping the DNA could make the case afterward.

She also said there were questions about how long the DNA would be held in a database and whether it would be purged. DNA contains information about people’s relatives and medical conditions, she said.

“DNA is not a fingerprint,” Davis said. “DNA has a lot more information in it.”

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Last edited by NiteSpinR on Sat May 18, 2013 1:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Robert S. Bernardi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:05 pm

ENGLEWOOD — Ten years after a 14-year-old girl was raped in her bedroom on warm spring night, police have arrested an over-the-road truck driver in the crime, thanks in part to a new state law.

“We got a hit last Wednesday on the DNA we collected at the crime scene,” Englewood police Sgt. Mike Lang said Monday.

Lang remembers the case well. Then a detective, he was called out at 3:30 a.m. on that April morning.

“We followed up on at least 100 leads, but got nowhere,” he said. “I always hoped we would clear the case before I retired.”

On July 1, a new state law requiring all those arrested on felony be swabbed for DNA.

On July 2, Miami County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 44-year-old Robert S. Bernardi in connection with the abduction of a 15-year-old girl. He was charged with aggravated menacing and unlawful restraint, according to court records. Under the new law, deputies collected a sample of Bernardi’s DNA. Three days later, he was released on bond.

Once they were informed of the DNA match, Lang said Englewood police immediately began tracking Bernardi, who was driving a semi from Ohio to the East Coast. He was pulled over in London and arrested. Englewood police brought him back to Montgomery County, where he was jailed under a $1 million bond.

He faces possible rape and aggravated burglary charges when he makes his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Lang said the victim was asleep in her bedroom when her attacker removed a screen from an open window, entered the bedroom and attacked her.

“It was a ranch-style house. It was a warm night, and all the windows were open,” Lang said. “The attack occurred while her parents and a sister were asleep. Another sister was on the phone, but didn’t hear anything.”

Lang said Bernardi had previously lived in the victim’s neighborhood but had moved prior to the victim’s family moving in.

“My first phone call was to her,” the sergeant said. “ She was amazed that after 10 years we had found her attacker.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Robert S. Bernardi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

Post by NiteSpinR on Sat May 18, 2013 1:52 am

May 18, 2012

A man whose DNA linked him to the 2001 rape of a 14-year old Englewood girl, leading him to plead guilty to several felony charges, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.

Robert S. Bernardi, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and counts of aggravated burglary, gross sexual imposition and kidnapping on April 13. He appeared before Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Dennis J. Langer.

Bernardi was linked to the Englewood attack after his DNA was collected during his arrest for an unrelated offense in July.

The victim was sleeping in her bed at her family’s ranch-style home on April 8, 2001. The weather was warm and the windows were open. The attacker removed a screen from a window, entered the room and attacked her, according to police.

Her parents and a sister were asleep during the attack. Another sister was on the phone but did not hear anything, according to police.

A DNA profile, obtained from evidence left at the scene, was entered into the Combined DNA Index System.

The case went cold after police were unable to identify any suspects. In 2003, the prosecutor’s office filed a “John Doe” indictment against the person with the DNA profile found at the scene to keep the statute of limitations from expiring.

Miami County sheriff’s deputies arrested Bernardi on July 2 in connection with the abduction of a 15-year-old girl. He was charged with aggravated menacing and unlawful restraint, according to court records.

But deputies also collected a sample of Bernardi’s DNA, as mandated by a July 1 change in Ohio law. That change expanded DNA testing of those arrested for but not convicted of crimes.

His DNA was entered into the database, which then identified him as the other girl’s assailant, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

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