HOUSTON— Ongoing problems with the Houston Police Department’s crime lab cost police a chance to get a violent sexual predator off the streets, Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos said.
Wesley Bernard Gordon was recently charged in the brutal sexual assault of a 77-year-old woman back in 2003. The rapist broke into the legally blind victim’s home, dragged her into the bedroom and threw her on the floor.
"He hit me on the face because I was screaming," the now 86-year-old woman told KHOU 11 News Wednesday. "I was just praying the whole time. I didn’t say anything to him, because I didn’t want him to kill me."
She said it was the worst moment of her life.
Lykos describes Gordon as a dangerous predator who should have been locked up years ago. Instead, he’s still on the run.
"This man has committed sexual assaults on males and females," Lykos said. "He has an extensive record. He is a serial, violent sexual predator."
Lykos said after the August 2003 assault, samples were collected using a rape kit submitted to HPD’s crime lab for analysis. So what took so long?
"The incident number under which the kit was filed was incorrect. And from 2003 until 2012, the lab never checked to see why they didn’t have the rape kit," she said.
What’s more, when an HPD officer discovered the mistake back in July of this year and notified the lab, action no one took action until September, according to Lykos.
It gets worse. Gordon was also suspected of raping a homeless woman back in 2003.
"There was another rape kit, and that rape kit was never submitted," Lykos said.
That case against Gordon was dismissed.
Between August of 2003 to today, Gordon was leaving many victims in his path, according to the district attorney’s office. His criminal record includes assault and kidnapping convictions, among others. There are also multiple aggravated-sexual assault charges that were dismissed.
From botched tests and missing evidence to wrongful convictions, The Houston Police Department’s crime lab is no stranger to controversy.
"We can’t tell for sure what happened and who did it," said Bob Wicoff, a crime lab investigator. "We must and will do better."
Lycos said the "cascade of errors" with the Gordon case is more proof that the independent regional crime lab she proposed—and the county approved—is needed.
Meanwhile, the 86-year-old woman is no longer praying for herself.
"God says pray for your enemies."
She’s praying for Gordon.