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Jefferson City man charged again with rape in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Jefferson City man once acquitted on sexual assault charges in Boone County is once more accused of raping a woman.

Prosecutors charged Jemell Butler on Monday with first-degree rape related to an incident in central Columbia on April 8, 2017. DNA evidence taken from the female victim's clothing the night of the assault matched a profile of Butler's, according to a probable cause statement from the Columbia Police Department.

The victim allegedly escaped the assault and ran to a home on Oak Street. Police met her there and "requested the police take her home," according to the statement. Police followed up with her later and asked her to bring in the clothing from the night of the assault.

The woman told police at that meeting she had been drinking downtown that night. She told investigators she did not remember leaving the bar, but did recall "a long walk with a male subject" to the alley in central Columbia, according to the statement.

On Sept. 21, the statement said, the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab "located a sperm cell fraction in the underwear of the victim." The lab came up with a DNA profile a month later, and matched it with Butler's profile on Jan. 11, police said.

Butler faced three different cases related to rape and robbery in 2015. A jury acquitted him of threatening a woman he met on with a knife to perform a sex act on I-70 Drive Southwest. The two had met when Butler asked her to come from Illinois for sex in exchange for money. Butler's defense attorney Matthew Mueller said it was the woman who threatened Butler when he admitted he didn't have the money. The jury in that case convicted him for stealing the woman's cellphone, and he received one year in jail.

Butler pleaded guilty in June 2016 to second-degree robbery and felonious restraint for an incident involving a Phelps County woman. The woman told police a man she met on promised her money in exchange for sex in Columbia, but the man took her to a "dark, wooded alley" and assaulted her. That person, whom she identified as Butler when shown his photo, held her in a home on Bryant Walkway for days. Prosecutors dropped rape and kidnapping charges against Butler as part of the plea. He received a 10-year sentence, but was released after four months through the state's shock incarceration program.

A third robbery case against Butler was dropped on June 6, 2016. The victim in that case said a man walked with her through an alley near Oak Street and Garth Avenue when two other woman jumped from the bushes and assaulted her.

Butler faces a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Court records show Butler completed his prison sentence in October 2016.


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