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Published: Saturday, 12/1/2007

$900,000 bond is set for Toledo suspect in 4 rapes

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Winters Winters
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A 17-year-old girl who was forced at gunpoint into the yard of an abandoned house in North Toledo and raped said yesterday she can breathe a little easier knowing her accused attacker is behind bars.

"Finally," she said. "It took so long."

She was less than a half-mile from her Ashland Avenue home when she was attacked.

Andre Lamar Winters, 18, of 222 East Weber St. was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court on two counts of rape; two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of aggravated robbery. Mr. Winters also was arraigned on unrelated warrants for two aggravated robberies and robbery.

He was being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $900,000 bond.

Mr. Winters was arrested just after noon Wednesday at 409 East Bancroft St. - a day after police publicly identified him as a suspect in the rapes of four teenage girls.

Toledo police Sgt. Sam Harris of the special victims unit said as police continue to investigate the rapes, the cases likely will be presented to the Lucas County grand jury. Additional charges against Mr. Winters are pending, he said.

The 17-year-old girl was attacked Aug. 3 about 5 a.m. as she was walking home from a friend's house on Bancroft. A man dragged her behind a house at 2253 Ashland, threatened to kill her, and then raped her, police said.

Mr. Winters remains a suspect in the assault, police said.

She no longer walks alone.

The girl said she also transferred from Libbey High School to Scott because it's closer to her home. "I'm cautious," she said. "I'm very cautious."

Mr. Winters was charged with raping a Waite High School student as she walked to school Sept. 25.

Police said Mr. Winters approached the girl about 6:50 a.m. and tried to talk to her. When she refused, he took her to a yard at 3013 Stickney Ave.

He threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, police said.

The man who eluded police for nearly two months also was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl who police said he dragged into an alley at 3012 Mulberry St. on Oct. 18.

The girl was on her way to Woodward High School about 7:45 a.m. when Mr. Winters allegedly approached her and tried to start a conversation. She ignored him, the man briefly disappeared, came back, and took her into the alley, police said.

Mr. Winters is accused of holding a gun to her forehead while he raped her, according to court records.

He remains a suspect in the rape of a 14-year-old girl on Aug. 23 in North Toledo. The girl mistook a man for a friend of hers while walking near Central Avenue and Lagrange Street about 4:30 a.m. After realizing it was not who she thought it was, the girl and man began to talk, police said.

The man brandished a handgun, took her to the yard of a house on Lagrange, and sexually assaulted her, police said.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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