Crime & Courts

DNA leads to arrest after sleeping woman woke up to attacker by her bed, police say

Nearly a month after someone broke into a sleeping woman’s east Charlotte home and attempted to sexually assault her, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have made an arrest.

Deeshun Dade, 17, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with breaking and entering, attempted rape, assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a female, police said.

The woman was asleep in her home on Briarhill Drive, off Milton Road in east Charlotte, around 4:15 a.m. on June 27 when she woke up to a someone wearing a mask and standing over her bed, Dance said.

He attempted to sexually assault her, Dance said, but another person in the house heard the struggle and the two residents were able to fight him off. He left, and CMPD dogs were not able to find him that day.

DNA eventually linked Dade to the crime scene, Dance told reporters Wednesday.

Dade was on probation at the time of the attack, police said. He’s been charged with an April armed robbery, among other offenses, police said.

Details of this case initially made police believe it’s connected to five break-ins at houses within a half-mile of each other in east Charlotte, Dance said. All those cases happened early in the morning on May 13. Dade has not been charged in connection with them, Dance said, and police are still investigating.

In those five cases, the suspect apparently entered each house or tried to enter it through a window, according to police. Twice, someone found the suspect in a bedroom and yelled at him, and he ran away, police said.

So-called “stranger rape” — sexual assault committed by someone the victim does not know — is rare. Dance said that as of June 27, it had been reported 14 times so far in Charlotte this year, compared to nine times at the same point in 2018.

Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.