DNA from cigarette butts expose prison guard as serial rapist: Police

DNA from cigarette butts led to the arrest of a prison guard after analysis linked him to sperm from multiple rapes.

John E. Kurtz, 43, of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, was arrested Monday and is now facing a slew of charges including rape, kidnap, and aggravated assault, according to the New York Post.

Police were able to get the DNA samples from cigarette butts that were discarded by Kurtz on Friday and Saturday while he was under surveillance.

Kurtz has so far admitted to sexual assaults that occurred in November 2012, July 2016, and April of this year, but police believe there may be more victims, WNEP reports.

The 2012 assault occurred in a woman’s kitchen. She told police a man with a Halloween mask zip-tied her hands and put a ball-gag in her mouth. She reportedly got the gag out of her mouth at one point and begged him to stop. He eventually cut the zip-ties from her hands and left without sexually assaulting her, according to her account.

In the 2016 assault, the woman was zip-tied, gagged, and blindfolded in her home. Her attacker told her that if she looked at him “it would be her life.” After the assault, he wore latex gloves and used antiseptic wipes to clean up.

A woman told police this year that in April she woke up to a man straddling her in her bed. He allegedly zip-tied and gagged her, as well. She was then wrapped in a sheet and taken to another location where he allegedly raped her. He told her it was her “saving grace” that she was blindfolded, and he threatened to cut her throat.

The two most recent victims were able to give a good description of their attacker’s car and told police that he smoked.

Police have confirmed that Kurtz, who has worked as a corrections officer since 2010, was not at work during the attacks. They also say he is Facebook friends with one of his alleged victim’s husband and has access to the husband’s work schedule.

Kurtz is facing 24 criminal charges in all. He is currently being held on a $1.5 million bail.

[Feature photo: John Kurtz/Screengrab/WNEP]