Akron man found guilty in series of cold-case rapes

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — An Akron man was found guilty in a series of cold-case rapes, one dating back to 2011.

Prentice Smith, 45, of Anderson Avenue in Akron, was found guilty on Friday by a Summit County jury of the following charges: 5 counts of rape with sexually violent predator specifications and 4 counts of kidnapping, according to a release from the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.

DNA was collected from the crime scenes in January 2011, March 2015, May 2015 and December 2018 which eventually matched Smith.

According to the release, Smith would offer his victims a ride in his car and drive to a secluded place then beat and rape them, even pulling up to the side of building so the victims could not get out. In one instance, he held his victim at gunpoint.

Smith was arrested in June of 2019.

This is the first trial in Summit County involving the recently created Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Unit (SAKI) where it reviews unsolved rape cases less than 20 years old where DNA was collected but no suspect was charged with a crime.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty will sentence Smith Tuesday, May 25.

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