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Old 05-01-2005, 12:49 AM
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Default Article:'South Side Rapist' stabbed in prison

St. Louis — The man known as the "South Side Rapist" for a series of attacks that terrorized the St. Louis region for more than a decade is recovering after being stabbed several times by fellow prison inmates.
Dennis Rabbitt, 48, was attacked by at least three inmates Wednesday at the South Central Correction Center in Licking, where he is serving multiple life sentences, Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman John Fougere said Friday.

Rabbitt was treated at an off-site hospital and returned to the prison a few hours later. His injuries were not life-threatening, but he was stabbed over several parts of his body, Fougere said.

He is being held in protective custody and will probably be moved to another maximum-security prison, Fougere said.

The inmates used at least one homemade weapon. Three inmates are being held in administrative segregation as an investigation continues.

"We may find others were involved," Fougere said.

The attack happened in an outdoors common area near a housing unit of the prison in Licking, about 40 miles south of Rolla in south central Missouri.

The motive wasn't clear. Fougere said the Corrections Department is aware that some prisoners who commit notorious crimes may be singled out by fellow inmates, and steps are taken to protect them. Some ask to be housed in protective custody. Others are placed in prisons different than their known enemies.

Despite the infamy of Rabbitt's crimes, he had not previously been victimized in prison, Fougere said.

Police for years were puzzled by a series of rapes dating to the late 1970s and through the 1990s that began on the south side of St. Louis and spread to neighboring counties in both Missouri and Illinois. Many of the crimes happened in well-to-do neighborhoods. But there was no apparent link between the victims — black and white, ranging in age from their 20s to 82.

The one constant was the rapist's method of attack — climbing through an unlocked door or window after the woman had gone to bed.

An attempted burglary in Jefferson County led a detective to Rabbitt in July 1997. Rabbitt gave a DNA sample and then fled the area before it could be analyzed.

A nationwide manhunt ensued, and Rabbitt was arrested on Feb. 28, 1999, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Rabbitt confessed to raping at least 100 women since his late teens, though charges centered on rapes of a 10-year period that began in 1988. He pleaded guilty to about 50 felony counts in Missouri and also pleaded guilty to rapes in the Metro East area of Illinois.

Rabbitt blamed his actions on a medieval demon he said had taken possession of him from time to time.

He will not be eligible for parole in Missouri for 90 years.


Get well soon David! You are in our thoughts
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