Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (March 21) secured the indictment of an accused serial rapist linked by DNA results to the sexual assaults of at least eight women in two states.
Daniel Meridy was charged with five counts of aggravated/first-degree rape and five counts of aggravated kidnapping in the 10-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury. Each of the 10 counts Meridy faces is punishable by a mandatory lifetime prison sentence.
Criminal District Judge Camille Buras increased Meridy’s bond from $2 million to $7.5 million after the indictment was read.
Meridy, who turned 35 on Thursday, has been linked by DNA results to the five New Orleans rapes for which he is charged that occurred between June 2015-October 2018 in Treme and Central City. His DNA profile also has matched evidence recovered from the rapes of three other women in Kansas City, Mo., which occurred in 2004-05. Meridy
has told authorities he lived in Kansas City between 2002-15, before returning to his native New Orleans.
The New Orleans cases involve five women who were abducted at gunpoint or knifepoint, then taken to secluded locations or abandoned properties where they were raped. The incidents occurred:
- In the 1800 block of Bayou Road, around 9 p.m. on June 7, 2015;
- In the 600 block of South Genois Street, around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2016;
- Near the corner of Washington Avenue and Clara Street, around 9 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2016;
- In the 2200 block of Fourth Street, around 11:45 p.m. on June 10, 2018;
- In the 2400 block of South Johnson Street, around 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2018.
NOPD sex crimes detective Kevin Richardson, tasked to DNA-related cold cases under the department’s SAKI grant (Sexual Assault Kit Initiative), took up the investigation last September after being notified that the same unknown DNA profile had been found in the
first four unsolved New Orleans cases. In one of those attacks, a victim had reported a license plate that Richardson eventually traced to Meridy. The detective obtained a search warrant for a buccal swab of Meridy’s cheek last Dec. 6, and the resulting DNA profile matched all five New Orleans cases. Meridy has remained in custody since his
arrest on Dec. 10.
Once Meridy’s DNA profile was uploaded into the federal CODIS database (Combined DNA Index System), the match to three similar unsolved Kansas City cases also came to light. Meridy has not yet been charged by Kansas City authorities.
“I want to commend the outstanding work of NOPD detective Kevin Richardson in developing the suspect in these unsolved cases, where all he initially had to go on was an unknown man’s DNA recovered from numerous crime scenes,” Cannizzaro said. “This case is an outstanding example of the good that is possible when there is a determined, collaborative effort between the SAKI-tasked personnel of the NOPD and District Attorney’s office, and our Louisiana State Police crime lab partners.
“The defendant in this case is a longtime serial sexual predator who was very adept at covering his tracks, until the power of modern scientific evidence caught up to him. We look forward to prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law on behalf of these victims
and our community.”
Assistant District Attorney Mary Glass, head of the OPDA’s SAKI Unit, presented the case to the grand jury.
Since its inception in October 2017, the OPDA’s SAKI Unit has built DNA-based cases leading to the indictments of 15 defendants who raped 33 different victims in New Orleans cold-case sexual assaults.
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