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In 3rd Trial, Boston Man Convicted of Rape

March 22, 2006

BOSTON (AP) _ A rape suspect who twice won mistrials because key DNA evidence could have come from either him or his twin brother was convicted Wednesday in his third trial.

Darrin Fernandez, 31, was convicted in an April 2001 attack on a Boston woman who said she was repeatedly raped by a man who climbed up the fire escape and broke into her second-floor bedroom while she slept.

Jurors in the previous trials deadlocked, saying afterward that they were unable to agree on whether Fernandez was guilty because DNA from semen found on the woman’s pillowcase could have come from either him or his identical twin.

During the third trial, prosecutors urged jurors to consider a ``pattern of behavior″ they said would distinguish Darrin Fernandez from his brother.

Prosecutors introduced evidence they said showed Fernandez committed a series of home break-ins, sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults with characteristics similar to the rape in 2001.

He had been convicted of an earlier rape for which he is now serving a 10- to 15-year prison term. In that attack, prosecutors said Fernandez climbed on two trash barrels he had stacked under the victim’s living room window and attacked her as she slept on the couch.

Both victims testified that the man who attacked them engaged in sweet talk or sexual banter as if he was a boyfriend and not an attacker.

The jury Wednesday found Darrin Fernandez guilty of three counts of rape, and several other charges related to the attack.

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