DNA evidence leads investigators to Daytona Beach serial rapist, police say

Suspect connected to at least 4 open cases

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach police said they arrested a serial rapist who raped and choked multiple women in the Volusia County area.

Daytona Beach police Chief Craig Capri said DNA evidence was used to link Markeith Martin, 44, to at least four open rape investigations in the Volusia County area dating back to 2010. Capri said Martin claims he was convicted in 2014 of a sex crime but only served 37 months and was not required to register as a sex offender.

"Thirty seven months doesn't seem like a lot of time for someone who commits a rape, a crime like that that basically destroys the sanctity of the victim, it destroys them for life. They're scarred with this for life and this guy gets 37 months to come back on the streets and do it again," Capri said.

A spokesperson from the Department of Corrections said Martin served time for a simple battery, but never for a sex crime.

So far, Martin has only been charged in one of the rapes.

In that case, the victim was riding her bicycle on Peninsula Drive around 6 a.m. Aug. 1, 2018, when her bicycle stopped working and Martin approached her and offered to help, according to the report.

The victim declined the help and the drugs he offered her, police said. Martin then choked and raped the woman, according to the affidavit. He was violent during the attack and apologetic afterward, the report said.

Capri said the victim was traumatized after the attack.

“This guy’s a serial rapist. He’s going around hunting women and attacking women and thank God they’re alive," Capri said.

The DNA from that case was linked to Martin on Wednesday. On Friday, an arrest was made.

Martin confessed to the crimes, claiming that he made deals with the women and he had to get rough and strangle them when they didn't oblige, according to authorities. Capri said he doesn't believe the "deranged lunatic's" claims beyond the fact that he committed the rapes.

Capri said now that Martin is in custody, detectives can work on developing cases to charge him in connection with the other rapes. They said their main priority was to get him behind bars before more women could be victimized.

"Now we have time to sit back and do everything slow and deliberate, go through the evidence, check more into his stories, find out why he wasn't designated as a sex offender," Capri said.

Given Martin's criminal history that includes eight felony and seven misdemeanor convictions, Capri said he hopes a judge will deliver a hefty sentence.

“He needs to go away for good. He probably needs a little bit more, but I can’t say that on camera,” Capri said.

According to the Volusia County Jail, Martin was granted $5,000 bond for his felony battery charge, but no bond was set for the sexual battery charge.

Martin's next court date is scheduled for May 16.

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