'Pillowcase Rapist' Convicted in 1983 Attack

Authorities in Florida believe Robert Koehler attacked dozens of women
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2023 4:21 AM CST
'Pillowcase Rapist' Found Guilty of 1983 Florida Attack
Robert Koehler, who authorities call the "Pillowcase Rapist," enters the courtroom in a wheelchair during his trial, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Miami.   (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald via AP, Pool)

A man suspected of being the "Pillowcase Rapist" in connection with a string of South Florida rapes back in the 1980s was convicted Wednesday in one of the attacks. Miami-Dade County jurors found Robert Eugene Koehler, 63, guilty of sexual battery, kidnapping, and burglary, the AP reports. He faces up to life in prison at sentencing March 17. He is also charged in six more attacks in neighboring Broward County. The Miami-Dade case focused on a single victim, a then-25-year-old woman who was attacked in December 1983.

Authorities say the “pillowcase rapist" terrified his victims by breaking into their homes at night. The attacker used a pillowcase or other fabric to cover his face—or the face of his victims— before assaulting them, tying them up, and stealing items from their homes. The assaults attracted extensive media attention in South Florida and prompted the creation of a task force to investigate the sex crimes. Authorities said the trail eventually turned cold until 2020, when DNA taken from Koehler's 29-year-old son after a domestic violence arrest closely matched that of the Pillowcase Rapist. After his arrest, prosecutors said Koehler had been building what appeared to be a "dungeon" under his home.

(More Florida stories.)

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