ALLENTOWN (CBS) – When a woman is assaulted, beaten and left for dead, you would expect police to do everything they can to bring in a suspect. So why did the Allentown Police Department arrest someone, let him go for a year, and only arrest him again after we started asking questions?
It’s hard for Jessica Meckes to look at herself in the ICU more than three years ago.
“I remember how heavy my head was,” Jessica said.
Jessica was beaten in the early morning of June 30, 2007. She had just been dropped off at her Allentown apartment building.
“Someone came up from behind me, hit me from behind, broke my jaw. He drug me forty feet and then choked me,” Jessica said.
She doesn’t remember what happened, just that she woke up beside a creek near her apartment. She managed to walk to her front door and ring the doorbell. Her boyfriend found her. Among her injuries: a broken jaw, a broken bone in her throat, and more, scars she still carries inside and out.
“What possesses somebody to hurt somebody like that?” Jessica said.
More than a year later, detectives got a break. DNA from Jessica’s attacker matched a suspect in a crime in Albany, New York. Allentown Police contacted police in Albany and got a name: Eli Franklyn Glasper.
Allentown police say they searched for him, but they never issued an arrest warrant. They only distributed information to officers.
“They called me and told me that he was back in the area and they were looking for him, which scared me so much because I don’t know what he looks like, who he is,” said Jessica. “But he knows who I am. He had to look me in the face when he was choking me.”
Jessica spent the rest of 2008 and all of 2009 looking over her shoulder. Over two years had passed, and still no arrest. Her mother, frustrated, emailed CBS 3 in March.
What Jessica didn’t know and what Eyewitness News found was that Eli Franklyn Glasper was arrested on unrelated charges by Allentown police in March 2009, five months after DNA implicated him in Jessica’s attack. Glasper pleaded guilty to a minor charge and was released. There’s no indication police ever questioned him about Jessica. He was back on the streets until we started asking questions this year.
Eyewitness News reporter Natasha Brown said, “So this guy was picked up on a probation violation in April, after we started making phone calls and inquiring about this case. How do you feel about that?”
“That is… It’s unbelievable that that’s what it takes,” said Jessica.
Police sampled Glasper’s DNA in April, and in July, it came back as linked to Jessica’s case. He’s now charged with attempted homicide. Glasper has not yet entered a plea. Police claim he confessed.
Allentown’s police chief agreed to talk on camera with CBS 3 last week, then canceled. But he did say, quote, “I won’t say this case was handled as expeditiously as it could. We’ve lost a lot of people.”
Jessica said, “I really feel that if I had been killed that night, they would have found him, and things would have been done a lot faster.”
We asked the police chief why a person of interest in an attempted murder was arrested on a minor charge and released. The chief said in a written statement today, “What’s important is that an investigation resulted in the identification of a suspect and that person being arrested.”
The statement went on, “The Allentown Police Department is always seeking to improve its practices. It has since implemented policies…to insure timely processing of all investigations.” The chief told us earlier that would include random quarterly reviews of criminal cases.
Story Contributor: CBS 3 Reporter Natasha Brown