By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — A suspected serial rapist was cleared of criminal sexual conduct charges filed in August from Southgate, and awaits two more pending trials for incidents in Southgate and Lincoln Park.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vera Massey Jones found Elmore Nichols, 52, innocent Tuesday following a week-long bench trial. Nichols was charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct and first-degree home invasion.
Police and prosecutors said that Nichols was suspected of several rapes, attempted rapes and home invasions, both Downriver and in Oakland County.
Nichols was taken into custody shortly after a 64-year-old Lincoln Park woman reported a home invasion and attempted rape in July. According to police reports a woman awoke at 5:30 a.m. to a man breaking into her Electric Avenue home; the suspect then climbed on top of the woman and told her to be quiet.
When she instead screamed, the suspect left the residence and the woman called police. A patrol car in the neighborhood saw Nichols running through back yards and soon located him in a Dodge Charger several blocks away.
Police took Nichols into custody, where a fingerprint check revealed a registered sex offender with a criminal history dating back to a first-degree rape conviction in 1981. His description and vehicle matched reports from Southgate and Oakland County.
Two cases from Southgate were filed; the first resulted in last week’s not guilty verdict, a second for first-degree home invasion will be presented during a bench trial Wayne County Circuit Court beginning Jan. 31.
For the Lincoln Park charges, Nichols was arraigned in 25th District Court on charges of home invasion, attempted rape and receiving and concealing stolen property; police found numerous credit cards in Nichols’ vehicle belonging to other people in Wayne and Oakland counties. A final conference is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Nichols remained in custody on $1 million bond.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)