A man serving a lengthy prison sentence in California just got 50 more years after DNA evidence linked him to three cold-case rapes in Montgomery County during the 1980s, officials said.
Gerald Smith, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree rape and was sentenced Tuesday. The 50-year term will be tacked on to the 87-years-to-life sentence he's serving in California for several more rapes.
"Our goal in this case was to ensure that the defendant remains behind bars for the rest of his life," said John J. McCarthy, state's attorney for Montgomery County.
Prosecutors DNA evidence recently linked Smith to three rapes about 30 years ago.
On Sept. 19, 1981, a 17-year-old was walking home along the 1300 block of University Boulevard in Silver Spring when Smith grabbed her and pulled her into some bushes. He covered her face with a cloth, tried to choke her unconscious, forced her to remove her clothing and raped her, prosecutors said.
On Aug. 12, 1982, he pulled a 21-year-old woman to the side of Weisman Road in Wheaton, placed her in a choke hold and wrapped a towel around her face. He threatened to kill her and then raped her.
On June 8, 1986, in the 800 block of Veirs Mill Road in Rockville, he knocked an 18-year-old over a guard rail to the ground, wrapped a string around her neck, and took her into the woods and raped her.
In 2010, thanks to aid from a grant, DNA collected at the time was run through a national DNA database to try to identify the attacker. The search resulted in a DNA hit on Smith, who was later linked to all three attacks, prosecutors said.