Man held in attack near Center City

Posted: September 06, 2007

A man suspected of stabbing and sexually assaulting a woman in her home near Center City in July has been charged with attempted murder and attempted rape, police announced yesterday.

Authorities were trying to determine whether Duane Jackson, 45, who lived in the area of the assault, is responsible for other attacks in the city, said Capt. John Darby of the Special Victims Unit.

The attack, in the Schuylkill section bordering Center City, was one of several vicious assaults on women in upscale communities reported this summer.

On July 31, about 4:30 a.m., the 35-year-old victim reported that she had woken up in her second-floor bedroom to find the knife-wielding assailant, Darby said.

"This male is the worst of the worst," Darby said. "She's confronted by this offender. He attacks her savagely with a knife, repeatedly stabs her and slashes at her."

The woman fought off the assailant, but her injuries were so severe that she was hospitalized for a lengthy time and might need more surgery for the slash wounds, Darby said.

"This was a horrific crime," he said. "Clearly we believe the male intended to kill this woman."

The victim remembered details about the assailant, including facial hair and marks on his skin, Darby said.

Detective Harry Young and Officer Stephen Ratka worked closely with her, developing a sketch and suspects who matched the description, before Young narrowed in on Jackson as the prime suspect, police said.

Officers Patrick Cavalieri and Scott Dreibelbis studied a past mug shot of Jackson and searched the area, Darby said. They saw him in the 1400 block of Catharine Street on Aug. 29.

Cavalieri said Jackson had tried to flee, but had soon been apprehended.

In announcing the arrest, Chief of Detectives Keith Sadler called the attack a "despicable crime" that was solved with teamwork between detectives and uniformed officers from the 17th District.

Police would not comment on Jackson's past. According to court records, it includes arrests on drug and assault charges.

Contact staff writer Barbara Boyer at 215-854-2641 or

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