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Trial continues for man accused of sexually assaulting 4 women in 1984

Two forensic analysts described in detail the evidence they found in the items collected by investigators at the homes of the four victims.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The trial continued Thursday for Michael Sharpe, the Marlborough man accused of four sexual assaults dating back to 1984.

This is a case in which these women have been waiting decades for closure. 

The trial began Tuesday where it started with all four women testifying. 

Thursday's trial was focused on the scientific side of the case with two forensic analysts. 

"I think people forget the impact this has had on four individuals," said John F. Fahey, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney of the Cold Case Unit.

COLD CASE CRACKED: Genealogy website helps state investigators make arrest in string of 1984 sexual assaults

Thirty-eight years ago, Sharpe, now 71 years old, allegedly sexually assaulted four women ranging in age from 24 to 30, each from a different city and town.

In all four attacks, Sharpe is accused of showing a gun while breaking into their homes.

In fact, Sharpe was the CEO of a former Connecticut charter school and was later fired for lying about his criminal background, having pleaded guilty to an embezzlement case while working in California. 

The Connecticut case eventually went cold since the state's statute of limitations expired. 

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Since then, the four women have been living with the nightmare. 

"One indicated she might be able to sleep three hours a night now instead of two. Another said it was the one reason she never got married," added Fahey. 

However, two years ago, investigators used new genealogy technology which led to Sharpe's arrest. 

"We were able to find a bag of garbage that he had put out at the curb and therefore abandoned that garbage. It contained documents that contained his name. It also had some belts. We never saw him wear the belts or anything like that but we submitted them for testing," added Fahey. 

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Two forensic analysts who examined the evidence back then testified at the trial Thursday and said they found bodily fluids, blood and forms of body hair on items such as sheets, a towel and a washcloth.

Despite the evidence collected, it was not strong enough to convict Sharpe at the time. 

Distant family members submitted their DNA to genealogy sources and gave their consent to investigators to use.

Investigators then sent the newly found genealogy DNA to the lab and the results eventually led them to Sharpe. 

The trial could last six to seven days and then the jury will begin deliberating. 

If he is convicted, Sharpe could face up to 100 years behind bars.

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