CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia sentenced Quisi Bryan to 50 years in prison for a 1994 rape and kidnapping, the maximum allowed on the rape and kidnapping counts.
On Thursday, a jury convicted Bryan on one count of rape and one count of kidnapping, finding him not guilty on a second count of rape.
Bryan represented himself in court during the three-day trial.
New DNA evidence testing led to Bryan being charged and tried in connection with the 20-year-old case
Bryan is already on death row for the murder of Cleveland Patrolman Wayne Leon in 2000, six years after the rape.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said Bryan was indicted last July after tests conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation matched his DNA to that in a rape kit taken from a victim in March of 1994.
At trial, the victim described how she was forced at knifepoint to go behind a house on East 93rd Street near Lamont Avenue, and then was raped in an abandoned car.
In addition to the murder of Officer Leon and this latest case, Bryan has been convicted in four other rape cases, all involving DNA findings.
Three of those rapes also took place in 1994. The fourth occurred shortly before Leon was shot and killed on June 25, 2000, after making a routine traffic stop in Cleveland's Central neighborhood.
McGinty said, "This conviction has proven that Quisi Bryan was operating as a serial rapist on the east side of Cleveland, attacking vulnerable black women on the streets. It is now clear that he killed Police Officer Wayne Leon in cold blood to avoid arrest for these rapes, not to avoid a traffic ticket."
"Quisi Bryan's latest serial rape conviction provides all of us in the criminal justice system another opportunity to recognize the vital importance of prompt DNA testing. Had the rape kits been submitted and tested earlier, the police and the general public would have known this serial rapist was on the loose in that immediate area years before he shot and killed Police Officer Leon. There would have been, at the very least, profiles and alerts to police and potential black female victims living in that inner east side neighborhood of this predator, his appearance, and his methods of attack."
"The DNA Cold Case Task Force results have proven that there are many other active serial rapists on the east side of Cleveland that no one realized existed. Police had the reports of the rape victims, but no one realized that many were being committed by the same serial rapists."
"The lesson to us in the criminal justice system is that the sooner we complete the testing of the thousands of rape kits that sat on the shelves of police property rooms for up to twenty years, the sooner we can identify and arrest the other active serial rapists in Cleveland and thereby prevent other unnecessary rape victims or murdered police officers."
"In other words, the longer we take to test these untested rape kits, the longer the serial rapists remain on the streets and more women will be attacked or police killed. Quisi Bryan and other serials rapists like him are why we are determined to get the job done as soon as possible."
This crime was investigated by the DNA Cold Case Task Force, a collaboration led by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office that includes BCI, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department.
The Task Force,organized one year ago to follow up on DNA testing of backlogged rape kits by BCI, has completed 135 investigations that have led to 85 indictments.
"The DNA Cold Case Task Force results have proven that there are many other active serial rapists on the east side of Cleveland that no one realized existed. Police had the reports that the rape victims had made, but no one realized that many were being committed by the same serial rapists."
"The lesson to us in this criminal justice system is that the sooner we complete the testing of the thousands of rape kits that sat on the shelves of police property rooms for up to twenty years, the sooner we can identify and arrest the other active serial rapists in Cleveland and elsewhere and thereby prevent other unnecessary rape victims or murdered police officers."
"In other words, the longer we take to test these untested rape kits, the longer the serial rapists remain on the streets and the more women will be attacked…..or police killed. Quisi Bryan and other serials rapists like him are why we are determined to get the job done as soon as possible."
"In that regard, we thank Judge Matia for imposing the maximum sentence in this case.As Judge Matia noted from the bench, his sentence built on the findings and sentences of other courts in Bryan's prior cases. Given this defendant's history, I have no doubt that we will find other rapes that he committed. When we do, we will aggressively prosecute those crimes and future courts will build on the record established in this case and will be grateful to Judge Matia for trying it."
"Why prosecute someone who is already on Death Row? First, we do not give criminals a volume discount. Quisi Bryan should not have been rewarded because he had already been convicted of one aggravated murder and other four rapes. The victim in each of these cases was not simply the person he attacked, it was the entire community. Everyone's integrity was violated. Everyone deserves an accounting and justice. Second, if Bryan is somehow taken off Death Row by a future appellate court ruling, he will not be released to the street to resume his life of violent crime."
"I applaud the victim in this case for confronting her attacker. Of course, she was afraid to testify. Quisi Bryan is an intimidator. But she realized that silence would allow him to get away with a violent assault against her and this community. So she testified and today, in a letter to the court, she said that she hopes to help other rape victims heal. She is a brave woman and has every right proud of what she has done."
"You can rest assured that we will work with her and other victims to find the support they need to move forward. Our office has created a robust Victim and Witness Advocacy team to help victims through this difficult process. One thing we have learned during the first year of our DNA Cold Case Task Force is how important these advocates are in building a successful case."
"Judge Matia called for timely testing for all sexual assault kits. We agree and that's why we organized the Task Force a year ago. We have a dozen hard working Task Force members who already have solved more than a hundred rapes and will solve hundreds more."
"Finally, let me emphasize that, as Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, I represent the community as well as the individual victim who is killed, robbed or assaulted. Violent crime hurts everyone. Pursuing these DNA cold cases gives us an unmatched opportunity to bring closure and justice to all of Cuyahoga County. We are going to put hundreds of rapists in prison using DNA evidence and solve the mystery of exactly who the serial rapists have been."