Steven Ray Hessler was identified as the lead suspect in a series of violent home invasion rapes in Shelbyville and Shelby County, Indiana in the early 1980s. He also tied up a male victim, and severely beat him on his head with his gun and sexually assaulted his wife; the man suffered brain damage and permanent disability as a result of this attack.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs. Investigators made the initial confirmation through the surreptitious sampling of DNA from the envelope of Ray’s utility bill.
Hessler was previously convicted of rape in 1990, an offence for which he served about 9 years.
Hessler was convicted on all charges by a jury on March 4, 2022, after an 8-day trial in Shelby County. He was sentenced on April 1, 2022, to 650 years in prison for 6 counts of rape, 9 counts of unlawful deviate conduct, seven counts of burglary causing bodily harm, and one count of robbery.
Associated Press. “Prosecutors: Envelope DNA Linked Man to Cold Case Assaults.” Associated Press, August 19, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://apnews.com/article/e66c2caddf37984d94c32670e920c275.
Geiger, Dorian. “‘Sadistic’ Indiana Man Gets to 650 Years in Prison for Series of Cold Case Rapes in 1980s.” Oxygen, April 5, 2022. Accessed April 9, 2022. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/steven-hessler-sentenced-650-years-cold-case-rapes.
Greensburg Daily News Staff. “Greensburg Man Arrested in Sexual Assault Case.” Greensburg Daily News, August 19, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.greensburgdailynews.com/news/local_news/greensburg-man-arrested-in-sexual-assault-cold-case/article_24ac4088-e233-11ea-abb6-775542d5039b.html.
Nye, Rich. “Greensburg Man Charged in Series of Violent Home Invasions in the 80s spent Most of the 90s in Prison for Similar Crime.” WTHR 13 NBC News, August 20, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.wthr.com/article/news/local/greensburg-man-charged-in-series-of-violent-home-invasions-in-1980s-spent-most-of-the-90s-in-prison-for-similar-crime/531-c7e55f45-6e51-4e3f-8786-1067654add5a.
Nye, Rich. “Greensburg Man Convicted in Shelby County 1980s Home Invasion Sexual Assaults.” WTHR NBC News 13, March 3, 2022. Last modified March 4, 2022. Accessed March 12, 2022. https://www.wthr.com/article/news/crime/jury-to-decide-verdict-in-trial-of-greensburg-man-charged-in-shelby-county-1980s-home-invasion-sexual-assaults-steven-ray-hessler-shelbyville/531-31bc27da-1602-40a9-834d-92f0e0851924.
State of Indiana v. Steven Ray Hessler. Case Summary. Case No. 73C01-2008-FA-000001. Shelby Circuit Court. August 18, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase/#/vw/CaseSummary/eyJ2Ijp7IkNhc2VUb2tlbiI6IllBTGtyOFd6eHJ2QjRKWWJRR0VMbkNteVdLekl0OThrcE1VSVI0V3VEclUxIn19.
WTHR Staff. “Shelby County Arrest in Serial Rape Cold Case, Bond Set at $20,000,000.” WTHR NBC News, August 18, 2020. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.wthr.com/article/news/crime/shelby-county-arrest-in-serial-sexual-assault-cold-case/531-58a27fd6-557b-4b3f-a5d8-0a9c21bf8ce2.