Macon man charged in '02 rape case after DNA match

A 25-year-old Macon man has been charged with rape after a DNA match linked him to the March 2002 sexual assault of a 35-year-old woman in her car near a Macon intersection, police said.

John Paul Battle Jr. was indicted Tuesday on charges of rape, kidnapping with bodily injury and hijacking a motor vehicle, according to Bibb County court records.

Macon police Capt. Jimmy Barbee said it was raining heavily about 8 a.m. March 2, 2002, when the woman stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Elm Street and Broadway Lane.

Battle and another man allegedly pulled up behind her in another car. Battle ran up to her car with a gun, got in and forced her to drive about a block away where she was assaulted, Barbee said.

“She was beaten and sexually assaulted multiple times,” said Sgt. Melanie Hofmann, Macon police spokeswoman.

At some point, the woman was able to run away and call the police.

Hofmann said police found the woman’s Ford Taurus the next day in the bushes at Evergreen Cemetery off Houston Avenue.

The case went cold until police were notified in February that DNA evidence from a rape kit performed on the woman matched Battle’s DNA. Battle is an inmate at Lee State Prison in Leesburg, Barbee said.

Battle is serving a three-year sentence for aggravated assault, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. Barbee said the woman also has identified Battle in a photo lineup.

In a separate incident, 34-year-old Brandon Maurice Gooden, of Forest Hill Road, was indicted Tuesday on charges of rape, aggravated assault and false imprisonment, according to court records. The charges stem from allegations that he raped a 27-year-old Forsyth woman in the 2800 block of Northwoods Drive on Jan. 19, according to Macon police.

Gooden was arrested Jan. 26 and released Feb. 20 on a $27,600 bond, according to Bibb County jail records.