Robert Koehler, man suspected of being the ‘pillowcase rapist’ of the 1980s, convicted in one of the attacks

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Jury finds Robert Koehler guilty of ‘pillowcase rapist’ charge

Jury finds Robert Koehler guilty of ‘pillowcase rapist’ charge


A man suspected of being the “pillowcase rapist” in a series of rapes in South Florida in the 1980s was convicted in one of the attacks on Wednesday.

Miami-Dade County jurors have convicted 63-year-old Robert Koehler of assault, kidnapping and burglary. He faces life in prison when sentenced on March 17. He is also charged with six other assaults in neighboring Broward County.

The Miami-Dade case centered on one victim, a then 25-year-old woman who was assaulted in December 1983.

Authorities say the “pillowcase rapist” scared his victims by breaking into their homes at night. The attacker used a pillowcase or other fabric to cover his face – or the faces of his victims – before attacking them, tying them up and stealing items from their homes.

The attacks drew media attention in South Florida and led to the creation of a task force to investigate sex crimes. Authorities said the trail finally cooled until 2020, when a DNA search for one of Koehler’s relatives led police to the man.

Koehler, sitting in a wheelchair, showed no emotion as the clerk read out the verdict of the jury, CBS Miami reported.

Cold case of a serial rapist in Florida
Robert Koehler, dubbed the “pillowcase rapist” by authorities, listens with Damaris Del Valle, right, one of his attorneys at his trial on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 in Miami.

Jose A. Iglesias/AP

A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by the “pillowcase rapist” also spoke out, the station reported. She described trying to get him out of her house.

“Because I knew if I hadn’t gotten him out of the house, my husband had just left for work, I would have been there all night. So I kept telling you to leave, he’s carrying a gun, he’s here, he just finished work at eight, he’s going to kill you. He’s got a gun, you gotta go, you gotta go, you gotta go,” she told the jury.

During the trial, prosecutors described a brutal assault at the victim’s home.

“The excitement,” said the prosecutor. “The strength this man must have gotten from assaulting an innocent woman. In this house. Fresh out of the shower. Completely vulnerable.”

According to the defense, there was insufficient evidence in the case. At trial, Koehler claimed he was kidnapped and tortured by a group of police officers who he says planted his DNA on the woman.

“Today’s jury verdict finding Robert Koehler guilty of assault, kidnapping and burglary finally closes the book on a terror that has gripped women in South Florida for far too long,” said Katherine Fernandez Rundle, state attorney of Miami-Dade. said in a press release Wednesday. “With a DNA trace linking Koehler to at least 25 sex batteries in Miami-Dade alone, the work of two generations of police and medical investigators appears to have come to a just and final end. This community is indebted to the courage of our victim who had to look this man in the eye years after his own assault and still have the strength to testify against him.”

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