By KARMA ALLEN, ABC News
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — An alleged serial rapist in Northern California began trial this week, two years after being arrested in connections with more than a half dozen attacks dating as far back the early 1990s.
The trial for alleged “NorCal Rapist” Roy Charles Waller, 60, began Monday at the Sacramento County courthouse with accusers among those set to deliver testimony in the case.
Waller was ordered to be held without bail in 2018 after DNA evidence led authorities to arrest him as he headed to work at the University of California, Berkeley. He is accused of carrying out at least 10 violent attacks between June 1991 and 2006 across six counties in Northern California. Waller entered a not guilty plea.
The trial began with a detective from the case and victims, including a woman who accused Waller of raping her in 1992, providing testimony. Teresa Lane, who was 30 at the time, said she was attacked in her Vallejo, California, home on February 1992 in what she described as a horrifying event that last more than six hours.
“I thought the whole time I was going to die, but I just sat there and just kept going through the motions and hopefully I’d get out and I did,” Lane told reporters after her testimony. “I tried to live my life as much as I could, and still there’s things I’ll never, ever forget.”
Like other victims, Lane said Waller broke into her home early in the morning wearing a black ski mask while she was still in bed. She said the suspect had a knife, covered her eyes and mouth with duct tape, and tied her up to her bed before the attack.
Lane said she avoided eye contact with Waller until the very end of her testimony.
“It just felt good to finally look at him in his eyes, whether he looked at me or not, it felt good just to look at him,” she said.”I pray to God that he’s convicted and he wont do it to anybody else.”
Waller was charged with 12 counts of forcible sexual assault upon his arrest in September 2018, but prosecutors added additional counts of rape and kidnapping the following year in connection with a pair of 1997 attacks.
Authorities recovered DNA from several of the crime scenes, but it was a case in October 2006, the most recent tied to the suspect, that police made a match — thanks to a genetic genealogy database.
The technology used to link Waller to attacks on 10 women in the Bay Area was the same used to arrest alleged “Golden State Killer” Joseph DeAngelo in April. DeAngelo, 72, is facing 13 counts of murder in both Northern and Southern California with cases dating back to the 1970s.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig previously described the suspect as “a real-life boogieman” who snuck into the victim’s homes “under the cover of darkness … and attacked them.”
“I think we have to assume that without this tool, it’s possible that these men could have died and no one ever would have known they were the involved in these crimes,” Dr. Ruth Ballard, a professor of biological sciences at California State University, Sacramento, told reporters after Waller’s arrest.
ABC News’ Mark Osborne contributed to this report.
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