Plano PD, Collin County DA secure life sentence for “sorority rapist”

Jeffrey Wheat was sentenced to life in prison on Feb. 27, 2024. Photo from the Collin County D.A. Office.
Over a decade after the case of string of rapes went cold, Jeffrey Wheat, a.k.a. the Sorority Rapist, was sentenced to life in prison.

District Attorney Greg Willis’ office secured a life sentence for a home invasion serial rapist known as the “Sorority Rapist,” who sexually assaulted several former Delta Sigma Theta sorority members in their homes over a decade ago.

From 2010-2011, three women in their mid-50s to mid-60s were sexually assaulted in their homes between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. The women had almost nothing in common. They lived in different cities, graduated from different universities and were different ages. All they had in common was that they had formerly been in Delta Sigma Theta, the largest Greek-lettered Black sorority in the world.

The investigation started in April of 2011, when Plano police responded to a call after 2 a.m. where a woman who said she was sexually assaulted in her bedroom after a man got into her home through an unlocked window. The woman further told detectives that the assailant knew her name and used it, told her he was in his early 40s and went by the nickname “J” and that she had bitten the assailant’s hand, leaving his blood behind on her pillow, according to Cox Media Group‘s reporting.

After assaulting her, the woman told police, he made her shower in the dark to wash evidence from her body. He then left through a bedroom door into her backyard, the Cox article said.

Several days later, the assailant called the Plano victim on her cellphone and apologized for the assault, Plano PD said in a statement. Detectives traced the call to a pay phone at a Chevron Food Mart, where detectives obtained video of the suspect from the side of the store. 

Months later, Plano PD received a crime bulletin from Coppell police about a similar incident that happened in September 2011. When the Coppell victim participated in a sex assault exam kit, semen collected was found to match the blood left on the Plano victim’s pillow.

By the end of the year, an October 2011 Corinth case and a 2003 Arlington case were matched to the same man. And the case went cold.

In 2018, Cold Case Detective Danny Bryeans was assigned the case and he began examining genetic reports, eventually identifying a female with a possible familial DNA link to the then-unknown suspect, Plano PD said in a statement.

Additional investigation identified Jeffrey Wheat as a possible suspect, which was furthered when the DNA of Moses Wheat, Jeffrey’s brother and an inmate in Alabama, was identified by Plano Police Physical and Technical Division Manager Rick Staub as a sibling of the assailant, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office.

In November 2020, Plano police contacted Jeffery Wheat’s ex-wife who confirmed that he was the man in the 2011 surveillance video, according to a Plano PD statement. Following execution of a search warrant, DNA linked him to several of the cases. 

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Wheat worked as a long-haul truck driver in Mississippi at the time of his arrest, but had been living in the DFW area during the time periods of all four assaults. The sorority had used a credit card processing company that employed Wheat, giving him access to personal identifying information, the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. 

In January 2021, Wheat was arrested on a felony warrant for first degree Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Sex Assault in Arkansas and transferred to Collin County Detention Center where he was held on a $500,000 bond. 

“This investigation spanned three years and consumed thousands of hours of work from multiple detectives and Ms. Clements, who was crucial to the complex and in-depth genealogical research in this case,” Plano PD said in a statement. “Detective Bryeans and Ms. Clements pursued this case relentlessly and brought justice to the victims across North Texas. The work of everyone involved throughout this investigation is exemplary.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, three of the survivors appeared in court for the sentencing hearing and gave victim impact statements, confronted their attacker and described the trauma they endured, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Finally, Wheat was sentenced to life in prison. 

“This maximum sentence would not have been possible without the bravery of these four survivors, as well as the above and beyond cooperation and coordination of Plano, Coppell, Corinth, and Arlington police, and the Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant county district attorney offices,” Willis said after sentencing. “This was the first Collin County offender identified using the same forensic DNA technology that solved the Golden State Killer case. We’re grateful for Plano Police Department’s decade long dedication to cracking this case, and ultimately three other cases.”

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