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Summit County man found guilty on 5 counts of rape, 4 counts of kidnapping

Prentice Smith was connected to several cold-case rapes via DNA, one of which dated back to 2011.

AKRON, Ohio — Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a story published on Jan. 4, 2021. 

On Saturday, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced that Prentice Smith, 45, had been found guilty by a jury in connection with four cold-case rapes in Akron, among other charges. 

“Justice has finally come for the survivors of these horrible attacks. I am so proud of these women who came forward and testified against this serial rapist,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “I am also proud of the Assistant Prosecutors as well as our Sexual Assault Specialist for their work on this case. Finally, I want to thank the Akron Police Department for their collaboration in helping solve this crime.”

In January 2011, Smith forced one woman into his car at gunpoint and drove her to an empty parking lot where he sexually assaulted her. 

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Four years later, in March 2015, the man pulled up next to a woman on the street and offered her a ride. Smith took the woman to an empty parking lot, parked next to a building so that she couldn't escape from the passenger side of the vehicle, and then beat and raped the woman. 

On Christmas day in 2018, Smith once again pulled up to a woman on the street offering her a ride. The man then took the woman to an empty parking lot, parked next to a building so she couldn't exit the car, and raped her. 

Officials say that DNA collected at each of the crime scenes led investigators to connect the 45-year-old man to each of the assaults, and later to his arrest in June 2019. 

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In total, Smith was found guilty on the following charges:

  • 5 Counts of Rape with Sexually Violent Predator specifications – Felonies of 1st Degree
  • 4 Counts of Kidnapping – Felonies of 1st Degree

The man will now go before Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty Tuesday, May 25, for sentencing.

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