A suspect in the sexual assault of a UW-Madison graduate student Downtown was arrested Thursday in an investigation in which security cameras proved critical, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said.
Dorian L. Wade, 28, of Madison, was taken into custody at a Far West Side apartment in connection with the incident that occurred early April 7 in which a stranger pushed the 24-year-old woman into bushes near the intersection of East Johnson and North Blair streets and sexually assaulted her, Koval said.
“We have an insidious crime of the worst kind when you’re talking about sexual assault,” Koval said at a news conference. “The community is put at great fear particularly in those instances where there is a stranger sexual assault.”
Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said a brutal September 2015 sexual assault of a 33-year-old UW-Madison graduate student by a stranger on a Near East Side bike path — about seven blocks away from the site of the recent attack — remains unsolved, adding that there were no cameras nearby in that case.
The latest investigation was hastened through the help of surveillance cameras that eventually led to a license plate and picture of the suspect, coupled with DNA evidence found at the scene, Koval said.
“But for surveillance cameras put out in public spaces, we wouldn’t be having this conversation here today,” Koval said, adding that a newly installed camera was “extremely useful” in making the arrest.
Madison police are recommending to the Dane County District Attorney’s Office that Wade face a charge of second-degree sexual assault.
Police have said the assailant fled the scene around 3:30 a.m. after a vehicle pulled in near where the assault took place.
Koval said the Police Department asked the state Crime Laboratory to expedite the analysis of the DNA, and a match for a person who was in the lab’s database came through Wednesday.
After Wade was identified as the person of interest, Madison police and Dane County task force members went to an apartment on Flower Lane Thursday morning. They tried to negotiate with Wade to come out but he refused to leave, and officers eventually broke in and arrested him around 11:40 a.m., Koval said.
DeSpain said street cameras initially identified the make and model of a car that was following the victim as she walked home. Cameras at parking ramps provided a picture of the driver and the vehicle’s license plate, DeSpain said.
Wade was part of the Police Department’s focused deterrence program that works with people who have “prolific criminal history” in an attempt to prevent them from re-offending, Koval said.
Koval said he hopes prosecutors will aggressively pursue the case and, if formal charges are filed, any conviction ends with the “complete length of whatever sanctions can be made available.”
In Wisconsin, Wade has been convicted of misdemeanor resisting arrest, according to online court records, but DeSpain said Wade has several felony convictions in Illinois, including robbery and battery.
DeSpain also noted that security cameras aided in the identification of a man suspected of armed robbery and kidnapping on Monday.
Police said Marvin Baker indicated he had a gun when he got into a car Downtown and forced the 22-year-old driver to withdraw money at an ATM before stealing her car. Baker is still being sought by police.