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Strange Announces Cold Case Indictments of Serial Rapist in Morgan County

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson that a Morgan County Grand Jury has indicted David Leon Garth age 44 for multiple sex crimes during a 1980s crime spree.

The crimes involving six women occurred between November 1985 and May 1986.  Mr. Garth is currently serving a prison sentence for first-degree burglary at the Donaldson Correctional Facility.  The AG’s office and the Morgan County DA presented evidence to the Morgan County grand jury that Mr. Garth committed the series of previously unsolved crimes.  The 9 indictments handed down by the Grand Jury include: first-degree rape of one victim;  first-degree burglary, while armed with a knife and with intent to rape, of a second victim; first-degree burglary, while armed with a knife and with intent to rape, of a third victim; first-degree rape of the same third victim; first degree rape of a fourth victim;  first-degree burglary, while armed with a knife and with intent to rape, of a fifth victim; first-degree burglary, while armed with a knife and with intent to rape, of a sixth victim; first-degree rape of the same sixth victim; and first-degree robbery, while armed with a knife, of the same sixth victim.

Mr. David Leon Garth Jr., 44, is a former resident of Decatur, and has been served notice of the indictments.  The charges against Mr. Garth are very serious.  All 9 charges are Class-A felonies and each carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Indictments merely mean that the state produced enough evidence to convince the grand jury that it is possible that Mr. Garth committed the crimes that he has been charged with.  Mr. Garth will have an opportunity to defend himself in a future criminal trial.

The state has released no further information about the investigation or about Garth’s alleged crimes.

This case was investigated by the Alabama Attorney General’s Cold Case Unit.  The prosecution is being prosecuted by the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office.  Both AG Strange and DA Anderson thanked the Decatur Police Department for their assistance in this investigation.

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AG Strange’s written statement said, “The Attorney General’s Cold Case Unit is a project conducted in partnership with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, to investigate violent crimes that previously had been closed due to lack of investigative leads. This program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Mr. Garth was arrested in June 1986 in the immediate aftermath of a burglary at West Court Apartments.  The burglary broke in to an apartment after 10:00 pm where a man, his wife, his child, and a roommate were living.  The burglar had a gun, cocked it, and aimed it at the head of household who leaped out the window and ran to call the police.  Decatur police responded to the 1986 call and apprehended Mr. Garth walking through a field with his girlfriend a mile from the crime scene.  Garth did have a gun on his person.  The victim and his wife both identified Garth as the burglar.  He was sentenced to 99 years for that crime.  He appealed the conviction to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals and the court upheld the conviction.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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