January 15, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A suspected rapist is behind bars tonight.
34-year-old Michael Christopher Blocker is charged with raping and robbing a 74-year-old Augusta woman.
Investigators are confident that a rapist is off the streets.
Michael Blocker, a five-time convicted felon, is now looking at the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars for the brutal attack.
Tonight the community is breathing a sigh of relief.
"I've been a little uneasy definitely since what happened. It makes me uncomfortable," said neighbor Laura Sherman.
The 74-year-old woman was attacked, raped and robbed early Tuesday morning (January 9) while out walking her dog. Six days later, officers arrested a suspect who was living just a few blocks away.
Investigators say the break in the case came when they released pictures of the jewelry stolen in the robbery.
Blocker, a five-time convicted felon, has been out of jail since July 2005 and living with his parents off of Hazel Street.
"It's just a stones throw from where he lives to Walton Way where he was," said Sheriff Ronnie Strength in a news conference yesterday. "Without a doubt walking distance."
Investigators say that gave blocker opportunity. But his father Henry says they've got the wrong man.
"It's just not like Michael to do something like that to a 74-year-old woman," he said. "When they do the DNA test they should find Michael didn't do it."
But the team of investigators and Sheriff Strength are confident that blocker is their man.
"After his interview, we have absolutely no doubt in our mind that this is the guy involved in the assault," Sheriff Strength said.
Neighbors say they are glad Blocker is behind bars, but they will not forget what they learned from an attack so close to home.
"Definitely a little bit of relief, but at the same time it was a very unfortunate event and I know it could happen again, so I'm going to keep up the precautionary actions," Laura said.
Sheriff Strength says they expect to have the DNA results back from the crime lab in the next two or three weeks. Investigators say they are still confident Blocker is the rapist based on other evidence found in his home.
The sketch investigators released brought in close to 100 tips. Officers say it definitely helped, but there were some differences. Blocker had a beard, which was not shown on the sketch. However, witness accounts of his height and weight were pretty close.
Sheriff Strength says the sketch was a good guideline, which is really what sketches are intended to be.
Michael Blocker has a long criminal history, beginning when he was just 18.
At age 18, in 1990, he was convicted of burglary and got a 7-year sentence, but got out two years later, in 1992.
In that year, he was convicted of theft by receiving stolen property. He got a 5-year sentence and served less than a year of it.
In 1993 he was convicted of dealing cocaine and got a 7-year sentence. He served less than a year of that.
And within two months in 1995 he was convicted of carjacking and possession of cocaine.
He got a 10-year sentence and served all of it. He had been out of jail for a year and a half.