Florida’s notorious ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ finally faces jury. DNA from 1983 case is key

The man in a black sweater rolled into the Miami-Dade criminal courtroom Thursday in a wheelchair. He looked unassuming, like any other graying man you might see on the

street. But Robert Eugene Koehler, 63, stands accused of being the “Pillowcase Rapist” — one of the most notorious serial rapists in Florida history, linked by police to a

horrific string of sexual assaults across South Florida in the early 1980s. The masked assailant slipped into apartments — his face typically shielded by a pillowcase or shirt —

and attacked dozens of women at knifepoint. READ MORE: How the Pillowcase Rapist became one of the most wanted criminals in South Florida The opening day trial was

decades in the making. Police had never made any arrests or even identified possible suspects until 2020 when the arrest of a relative and a DNA profile led them to raid Koehler’s

home in Palm Bay, where they also found what was described as a hidden “dungeon.“ Prosecutors began laying out their case in opening statements, with that DNA evidence at the

center. While technology has advanced in the last four decades, the genetic material left at the crime scene proves Koehler was the man behind the rape of a 25-year-old

woman in December 1983, prosecutor Laura Adams said. It’s just one of dozens of cases police link to Koehler. Broward County prosecutors also have charged him in six sexual

assault cases.