Cops: Georgia State student a suspect in multiple off-campus rapes


DeKalb police say they are investigating a 30-year-old student from Georgia State University’s Atlanta campus as a suspect in four rape cases in the county. 

The location of each alleged rape hasn’t been released, but two are believed to have happened at a DeKalb park after the women were kidnapped, according to warrants released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Dominic Lawton, a reported U.S. Air Force vet and martial arts “expert,” was arrested last week on charges of rape and kidnapping in one case. Police spokeswoman Shiera Campbell said Wednesday the agency couldn’t comment on the other three cases, which are under investigation, but charges haven’t been filed. 

RELATED: Suspect orders witnesses to move body after DeKalb murder, cops say

RELATED: 2 shot in DeKalb home invasion

RELATED: With new funds, DeKalb to go after 'aggressive and dangerous' drivers

The warrants say Lawton kidnapped a prostitute from the Super 8 motel on Snapfinger Road near Lithonia and raped her at Exchange Park off I-20. The crime resembled a May 2016 rape when a prostitute was also reported being kidnapped and raped at a DeKalb park, the documents say. 

Lawton was also accused in an attempted rape with similar circumstances in the city of Marietta in 2012, though the charges were later dropped. 

Lawton’s attorney, Elizabeth Taxel, said Wednesday she was just beginning her investigation into Lawton's case. But she said Lawton “maintains his innocence.” 

Lawton has attended the GSU Atlanta campus since this summer and went to GSU’s Perimeter College for two years before that, the university told The AJC. Online, he posted about martial arts and the difficulties of dating. 

The most recent alleged rape is said to have taken place after 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 14.The victim had received a call and text messages from a man requesting her “services.” 

Once the man arrived, he allegedly showed a gun, forced her into a red pickup truck and raped her at Exchange Park, first laying out a towel. She was dropped off at the hotel afterward. 

In the warrants, the detective pointed out the May 2016 case, in which the victim also spoke of a man stealing her away in a red pickup and laying down a towel at a park. Afterward, she was taken to a restaurant and she escaped, the documents say. 

Police reportedly identified Lawton as the suspect in the September case by the phone number. They also traced a red pickup truck to him, according to the warrants. 

In the 2012 attempted rape case, the pickup was yellow.

According to that warrant, he pulled the knife on the victim on Franklin Road in Marietta and forced her into the truck on Dec. 27, 2012. He later admitted to police he drove her “against her will” before she jumped from the moving truck. 

He was accused of aggravated assault with intent to rape and kidnapping. 

But the charges were dropped in May 2014. Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Charles Boring, who has since become known for prosecuting the Ross Harris hot-car murder case, filed to dismiss the charges. Boring cited “insufficient evidence and refusal to cooperate by the victim.” 

The district attorney’s office declined to elaborate on the decision Wednesday morning.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Accidental attic fire leaves Douglas County couple dead
Accidental attic fire leaves Douglas County couple dead

An early morning house fire was ruled accidental, but a husband and wife are dead, officials said.  Boyd Weese, 80, and his wife, Evelyn Weese, 79, died in their Douglas County home, spokesman for the Office of Commissioner Insurance Glenn Allen said. The home located at 64485 Ansley Blvd. in Lithia Springs was destroyed. “My fire...
$50K gift boosts Sandy Springs arts efforts
$50K gift boosts Sandy Springs arts efforts

The Sandy Springs Foundation has received a $50,000 gift from the Development Authority of Sandy Springs to further its new mission: the pursuit of arts programming. “The foundation, originally organized to support city programming and projects, will shift its focus to arts programming and educational opportunities,” according to the agenda...
Johns Creek renews CH2M service contracts
Johns Creek renews CH2M service contracts

The Johns Creek City Council has approved contracts with CH2M Hill Engineers Inc. to run the city’s Public Works and Recreation and Parks departments, and to manage its parks bond and TSPLOST projects. CH2M has provided municipal services to Johns Creek since its incorporation in 2006, City Manager Warren Hutmacher said in a report to the council...
Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner seeks release from jail
Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner seeks release from jail

Reality Leigh Winner should be released from jail pending her trial in the National Security Agency leak investigation because new information has surfaced that weakens the government’s case for keeping her behind bars, her attorneys are arguing in new court papers. Winner, 25, the first accused leaker to be prosecuted by the Trump administration...
Kennesaw approves two monthly fee increases
Kennesaw approves two monthly fee increases

The Kennesaw City Council approved the 2017-18 budget on Sept. 18 that includes two monthly fee increases at $3 each per household - one for sanitation, the other for street lights. For the past two years, Republic Services has experienced cost increases related to dumping fees, landfill costs, fuel and overall operating costs, according to a city...
More Stories