Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (May 30) secured the indictment of a man linked by DNA test results to the kidnapping and multiple rapes of an Indiana woman celebrating her birthday in the French Quarter last October.
Kenneth Barber was charged with second-degree kidnapping and three counts of first-degree rape of the 43-year-old victim in the indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury.
The victim told New Orleans police she was visiting Bourbon Street with a cousin when they repeatedly were approached by a man whose advances they rebuffed. The woman and her cousin later became separated, and she said the same man approached her from behind near the foot of Canal Street, grabbed her by her hair, and attempted to drag her across the railroad tracks toward the Mississippi River.
The attacker told the woman he had a gun and would kill her, then beat and raped her repeatedly before fleeing with her cellphone. The injured woman made her way to a bench outside the Harrah’s New Orleans casino, where a passerby helped her call 911 around 4:45 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2018.
Investigators had few leads on the attacker’s identity until a DNA profile recovered in the victim’s sexual assault kit was matched by the Louisiana State Police crime lab to a stored sample collected from Barber after a previous narcotics-related arrest in Mississippi.
Barber was arrested in Shreveport on Feb. 17 and extradited to New Orleans, where a buccal swab under search warrant was collected on Feb. 23. The sample match was confirmed by the Louisiana State Police on March 13.
Barber, 40, faces a mandatory life sentence if found guilty of any of the three rape counts he faces, and 5 to 40 years if convicted of the kidnapping charge.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Glass presented the case to the grand jury.
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