When Jeffrey C. Ford carelessly spit on the ground last year in Aurora, Colo., police were watching.
Subsequent DNA testing of that discharge led Jackson County prosecutors on Friday to charge Ford in connection with a 1997 robbery and sexual assault in Kansas City.
Ford, 41, is being held in jail in Adams County, Colo., where he is awaiting trial for a 2009 sexual assault there.
Jackson County prosecutors charged him Friday with first-degree robbery for the October 1997 attack in Kansas City. A loophole in Missouri law prevented them from filing a rape charge, prosecutors said, but not the robbery charge.
Ford, a mixed martial arts fighter in the Denver area, was a suspect in the 2009 Colorado assault when Aurora police saw him spit outside a service station last year. Testing supposedly linked him to the Colorado assault, the 1997 Kansas City attack and a 2003 San Francisco assault.
When Colorado officials charged Ford in September, they included information about the Kansas City and San Francisco incidents in court documents. No charge was filed in the California case because the victim has died.
Adams County prosecutors said Ford is scheduled to go to trial there in August.
Ford’s criminal record dates to 1987, when he was 17 and prosecuted for attacking an 87-year-old woman in her Kansas City home near 56th Street and Forest Avenue. That woman fought her assailant with a wooden stick and a box cutter. He pummeled her with punches, knocking her out, according to police reports.
Sent to prison, he was released from custody in 1997. Several months later, a 54-year-old high school guidance counselor was assaulted when she accepted a ride from a man after her car broke down near 55th Street and Troost Avenue.
When the man pulled into a secluded parking lot, the woman tried to run away. She said she threw her purse at him, hoping he would take it and leave. Instead, he tackled her and wrapped his arm around her neck and threatened to snap her neck if she made a sound, according to court documents.
He forced her into an area behind a residence and raped her. He then ordered her to get dressed, picked up a brick and told her to run or he would smash her head. The woman reported that the attacker was holding her purse as she ran away.
She ran to a street, where another man gave her a ride to a police station.
Evidence saved from the assault was matched to Ford’s DNA sample, according to the court documents. Ford refused to talk to Kansas City police when they traveled to Colorado late last year to interview him.
Detectives with the Kansas City police cold case sex crimes unit said the victim has been “very cooperative” in assisting investigators.