Cold case solved: CMPD makes arrest in 1995 sexual assault

L J Bertha is charged in the 1995 rape of a 16-year-old girl. (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office) 

Charlotte Mecklenburg police have arrested a man in connection to the 1995 sexual assault of a 16-year-old. 

L J Bertha, 59, has been charged with second degree rape, first degree kidnapping and common law robbery. 

On Nov. 1, 1995, the 16-year-old victim was walking on Dumbar Street to go to a payphone and call her mother. Betha allegedly went up to her, began talking and offered to show her where the payphone was. 

They got to the 900 block of Dunbar Street where the suspect grabbed the teen, pulled her through bushes and sexually assaulted her. He then took money from her and fled the scene. 

The victim was taken to Atrium Health where a sexual assault kit was completed. It was initially tested in 1996, then was retested in 2018 as part of a federal grant. The DNA evidence indicated that Bertha was the suspect. 

He was taken into custody on April 12 where he was interviewed. He was subsequently charged and transferred to the Mecklenburg County jail.