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Convicted serial rapist with links to several unsolved cases sentenced to life in prison

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – A convicted serial rapist was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday morning. The attacks began in 1993, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Mecklenburg District.

LJ Bertha, 64, was found guilty of one count of first-degree rape, one count of the lesser misdemeanor of second-degree rape, one count of first-degree child abduction, one count of the lesser misdemeanor of second-degree child abduction, one count of the lesser misdemeanor of attempted second-degree sexual offense, and one count of common robbery.

He was found not guilty on one count of first-degree rape and one count of attempted first-degree sexual offense.

The first attack occurred in October 1993, when a girl parked in the parking lot of a shopping center near Freedom Drive. According to court documents, Bertha kicked out the driver’s side window, forced her to let him drive, took her to a dead-end street and raped her while threatening to kill her.

Then he drove her back to the parking lot.

Bertha was found nearby.

A DNA test completed in 2023 confirmed him as a suspect.

On July 30, 1994, a second attack occurred on another woman. According to court documents, she was walking along Beatties Ford Road when Bertha drove her into a dead end street and, armed with a box cutter, raped her.

She was able to walk to a nearby supermarket where the clerk was able to call the police.

A DNA test completed in 2023 also confirmed him as a suspect.

(PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Man charged in connection with second unsolved sexual assault case from 1994)

A third woman was raped by Bertha in November 1996. He was convicted of her rape in 1997 and served a 20-year prison sentence.

(PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Man arrested in connection with unsolved sexual assault case from 1995)

Bertha was sentenced under laws that went into effect in the 1990s, when the attacks occurred. The sentence includes life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years, and 33 years in prison for the remaining charges, which will be served after the verdict on the first-degree rape charge.

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