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Alabama man convicted in 1998 Memphis rape case; rape kit wasn't tested until 2017

Timothy Dewayne Potts faces 15 to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.
Credit: Shelby County Sheriff's Office
Timothy Dewayne Potts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An Alabama man whose DNA linked him to the 1998 rape of a Parkway Village woman was convicted Wednesday by a Criminal Court jury, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.

Timothy Dewayne Potts, 48, faces 15 to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced next month by Judge Bobby Carter for aggravated rape.

The incident occurred around 4 a.m. on Dec. 8, 1998, when a man broke into the 27-year-old woman’s apartment near Lamar Avenue and Winchester Road. The woman said the man beat her with a pistol and also threatened to shoot her 4-year-old son who walked into the room.

She was taken to the Rape Crisis Center where a sexual assault kit was put together, but was not sent for testing until 2017. When a DNA sample from the kit was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System or CODIS, a positive match identified Potts as the assailant.

Potts, who lived in Memphis from 1997 to 2002, was located in a penal facility in Alabama.

The case was prosecuted by Asst. Dist. Atty. Dru Carpenter of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) and by Asst. Dist. Atty. Regan Murphy of the District Attorney’s Vertical Team 3.

The SVU handles cases of rape, child sexual abuse, severe physical abuse of children, elder abuse and vulnerable adult abuse. Vertical Team 3 prosecutes cases in General Sessions Division 11 and in Criminal Court Division 3.

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