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DNA shows man shot by homeowner to be serial rapist

Originally ran as:
Cases cracked by invoking an inalienable right

Colorado Springs Gazette
February 7, 2001


That a 72-year-old Knob Hill woman had the presence of mind and just plain pluck on a November night last year to grab her .38-caliber revolver and open fire on a man who broke into her home was itself noteworthy, as we observed at the time. Laudable, too; it was a judicious and, as authorities ruled, justifiable use of potentially deadly force in self-defense.

He wasn't killed but was wounded, twice, and fled in his car only to be apprehended later by police and eventually charged with burglary and trespassing, among other offenses.

As it turns out, the shots she fired Nov. 18 at 40-year-old Anthony Peralez may have done far more than stop an intruder in his tracks. In defending her home, she also helped police collar the suspect in three home break-ins and sexual assaults against middle-aged and older women in the Colorado Springs area since 1999.

The Gazette reported this week that authorities have filed two sexual assault charges against Peralez for incidents last August and September; Peralez also has been charged with kidnapping, rape and burglary in a 1999 case. Investigators had compared DNA samples taken from all three cases with blood from when Peralez was wounded during the November break-in.

Other evidence and hunches had turned up along the way, but police really got their break when an elderly homeowner drew the line and availed herself of an inalienable right - to use a lethal weapon in self-defense - that has been much under fire.

There persists among some a misbegotten notion that self-defense is somehow incompatible with civilized society. That if only we can enact enough laws and dispatch enough law enforcers, the rest of us no longer will have to resort to something as ostensibly odious, as retrograde as the use of violence in self-defense. Government will protect us from all harm.

Whether or not that vision is even desirable - considering what we'd all give up in freedom and taxes - it's just not possible. Sometimes, if we're in a position to do so, we must stand up for ourselves.

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