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Judge Orders Release of Suspect in Rapes

January 21, 1999

LONG BEACH — A judge on Wednesday ordered the release of a man arrested three months ago on suspicion of carrying out a series of rapes and burglaries in southeast Long Beach.

Superior Court Judge William T. Garner made his ruling after prosecutors asked that all charges be dismissed against Jeffrey Allen Grant, 33. A day before Grant's trial was scheduled to begin, Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Goul told Garner that DNA tests on Tuesday exonerated Grant in at least two of the seven attacks.

"When the DNA evidence came back that it wasn't him, we were absolutely shocked," said Stephen Kay, head deputy district attorney in Long Beach. "I do feel sorry for Mr. Grant."

Grant has spent the last three months in jail after a series of rapes and burglaries over a 16-month period in Belmont Shore and Naples. At a preliminary hearing, two victims pointed Grant out as their attacker and police said bloodhounds tracked the suspect's scent from crime scenes to Grant's apartment.

But Grant's lawyer said Long Beach police conducted inadequate lineups and that the DNA evidence shattered the credibility of the bloodhound evidence.

After the hearing, Grant's mother, Nancy, blamed police for overzealously pursuing her son. "I feel almost numb," she told reporters. "This has been really painful, really painful."

Long Beach Police Officer David Marander said detectives have not ruled out Grant as a suspect, despite the DNA evidence, and defended the investigation.

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