Change allows arrest in 2016 Tuscaloosa off-campus rape

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa investigators credit science and a change in Alabama jail procedures that allowed them to arrest a suspect charged in connection with the off-campus rape of a University of Alabama student in 2016.

Authorities arrested 19-year-old Colby De'Wayne Daniels Lewis of Demopolis.

Daniels is charged with rape, sodomy, and burglary.

"A sample taken during his arrest was taken to Alabama Department of Forensic Science it was processed and run through the CODIS system and then it hit on our unknown source sample in the victim's sexual assault kit," Captain Kip Hart with Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide said Wednesday.

He said a DNA sample taken from Lewis following his arrest on a robbery charge helped identify him as a suspect.

They accuse him of following the student from the University of Strip to her home on Convent Street in what investigators believe started as a robbery.

"Forced her into the apartment in what appeared to be a robbery to start with. During the course of the robbery, our victim was sexually assaulted," Hart added.

County jails in Alabama now also collect D-N-A samples along with fingerprints and mugshots as part of the booking process.

"That's something that the sheriff's and chiefs and Alabama Department of Forensic Science helped push for that database of known offenders. And it's times like this when it works," Hart explained in closing.

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