Following his guilty pleas Wednesday in Criminal Court, John Eskridge, 52, was sentenced by Judge Lee Coffee to 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He also will be placed on the Violent Sex Offender Registry.
The two rapes occurred in 2001 in the area of Rivergate Road and Old Horn Lake Road near I-55 and South Third Street.
On Feb. 23 that year, a 38-year-old woman said she was attacked from behind by a man with a large knife who threatened to kill her. She said the man pushed her over a guard rail, dragged her through a wooded area and raped her.
Later that year, on Sept. 30, a 45-year-old woman reported that a man got into her van while she was at a gas station, drove her to a secluded area and dragged her into a tunnel where he raped her.
In both cases, forensic evidence was collected in sexual assault kits, but not tested until years later. DNA profiles were developed in both cases and entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) where they were monitored for a match.
In August of 2015, the association of the two samples was developed indicating the contributor of the samples was the same man. A year later, DNA swabs taken from Eskridge confirmed that he was the person responsible for the two rapes.
The case this week was handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Cavett Ostner of the DA’s Special Victims Unit which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.