Sick predator jailed for 650 years for hideous 3-year sex crime spree in 1980s

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A serial rapist who perpetrated a string of sick acts in the early 1980s has been sentenced to 650 years in prison.

Steven Ray Hessler of Greensburg, Pennsylvania has been convicted on 19 felony charges including rape in March this year.

Hessler, 59, committed the string of rape attacks in Shelby County, Indiana between the years of 1982 to 1985 and was sentenced on April 1.

The convict faced a maximum of a 50 years prison sentence for each felony charge with all being Class A reports WRTV.

The charges included two counts of rape, six counts of unlawful deviate conduct, seven counts of burglary that resulted in bodily injury, three counts of criminal deviate conduct and one count of robbery.

Some of the sentences will be concurrent so the judge set up the complete sentence as 650 years.

"I've had a lot of victories over the years. This is definitely one of the best," Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen said.

Multiple victims testified in Hessler's sentence hearing recalling the trauma caused by his actions and continued actions since his attacks. They went on to explain their fear of Hessler returning to kill them in the aftermath of his attacks.

"The victims suffered for so long, and they wondered if someone looked at them in the store, if a car drove by slow, if a car drove by and honked, anything out of the norm. 'Is this him? Is he coming to get me? Is he going to follow through with his threats?' They wondered about that," Landwerlen said.

Hessler used to disguise himself in a bulky coat and would cover his face with a ski mask or leggings.

He would attack his victims in the night, usually armed with a gun or knife. The convict sexually assaulted his female victims and sometimes tied them up.

In 2020, Hessler was finally identified as the attacker from 35 years ago and swiftly arrested. DNA from the envelope of a water bill that was licked by Hessler helped identify him as it was left at the scene of his last known crime in Indiana on August 17, 1985.

"The DNA match got us into his house and into his computers and into his Digital media and so on and that's what he called a mountain of evidence," Landwerlen said.

Police executed a search warrant on Hessler's home in August 2020 and found stolen photographs from a victim along with computers that showed he had been tracking down two other victims, as was feared.

Clothing and objects that matched the description of the attacker in bulky coats with ski masks in the pockets were also found at Hessler's property.

Hessler's attorney, Bryan L. Cook, said Hessler plans to appeal issues raised during trial.

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