Work of Fulton DA’s sexual assault task force led to indictment

Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. announces the INDICTMENT, by a Fulton County Grand Jury, of 54-year-old DANDRE SHABAZZ.

Dandre Shabazz is a serial rapist who sexually assaulted, and in some cases, kidnapped and robbed at least 15 women at gunpoint between December of 2001 and May of 2005. Shabazz targeted young black women between the ages of 15 and 22, who were walking alone at night. The defendant drove up to these women in a vehicle, lured or forced them inside, and then drove the victims to a park or abandoned house to sexually assault them.  In every incident, Shabazz brandished a firearm and forced the victims to engage in sexual intercourse, and sometimes oral sodomy, against their will. He never used a condom, and in over a dozen cases he left his DNA during the rape. Although the women reported their assaults to police, his identity remained unknown for several years.

In August of 2005, Shabazz was arrested for armed robbery which prevented him from continuing to victimize women in Fulton County.  He was sentenced to federal prison in 2006 and has been in custody ever since. Shabazz is scheduled for possible release in his federal case in 2019.

The serial rape case came to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office in 2017 when a victim’s sexual assault kit was tested as part of Georgia’s effort to process all previously untested kits stored at Grady Hospital. That victim’s kit, which was collected in 2003, had never been examined.  It was finally tested in 2015 as part of that effort by the state, and in 2017, the District Attorney’s Office received notification that the male DNA found in that victim’s kit was a match to Shabazz. The defendant also matched DNA found in a dozen other rape cases.

In March of 2018, Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. formed a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Taskforce. The unit is dedicated exclusively to investigating and indicting cases, like this one, resulting from the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) matches. These are cases discovered through the forensic testing of backlogged sexual assault kits previously stored at Grady Hospital and at law enforcement agencies across Fulton County.

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Taskforce is led by Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Irina Khasin, who has successfully tried more than 30 sexual assault cases as lead prosecutor. Chief Senior ADA Khasin has also co-supervised the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Senior Investigator Solomon Bibbs, a veteran law enforcement officer and former detective with the Atlanta Police Department, heads the investigations for the Fulton County Taskforce. Millicent Taylor, a senior Victim-Witness-Advocate with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, is an integral part of the taskforce’s victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to investigating and prosecuting these cases. Ms. Taylor has specialized training and significant experience working with victims of sexual assault. The taskforce opened a private, code-accessed office and interview suite at 141 Pryor Street Southwest in Fulton County. It’s a space dedicated to serving the victims and witnesses in these cases by providing the privacy and protection they need and deserve.

In line with the victim-centered and trauma-informed notification policy designed by the Fulton County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Taskforce, the team located and notified the victims in this case of a DNA match. All of these victims have been waiting for more than 13 years for justice and have expressed relief and gratitude to the team for notifying them of the DNA evidence in their cases. The Fulton County SAKI Taskforce worked to gather all available evidence in each of these cases before presenting an indictment, which included 11 victims, to the Grand Jury on June 22, 2018. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is still working to identify the four remaining victims from Shabazz’s case.