Preble County serial rapist: Parole denied for man who attacked 16 women in Ohio, Indiana

A man serving up to a 135-year prison sentence for a notorious serial rape case in Preble County is not eligible for parole for another 10 years after the Ohio Parole Board this week denied parole for the third time.

Steven E. Barker, 61, was convicted in 1995 of raping 12 women in Ohio and Indiana and attempting to rape four more women. He has been incarcerated since May 1995 and is housed in the Marion Correctional Institution, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction website.

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

The Ohio Parole Board denied parole because “there is substantial reason to believe that the incarcerated individual will engage in further criminal conduct, or that the incarcerated individual will not conform to such conditions of release” and “there is substantial reason to believe that as the unique factors of the offence of conviction significantly outweigh the incarcerated individual rehabilitative efforts, the release of the incarcerated individual into society would create undue risk to public safety and/or would not further the interest of justice nor be consistent with the welfare and security of society,” the decision signed Thursday stated.

Parole previously was denied in 2004 and 2014.

Barker was living in the Preble County village of New Paris when he was arrested in 1993 in the sexual assaults in east-central Indiana and west-central Ohio beginning in January 1991. He preyed on older women — the youngest 40 and the oldest past 80 — who lived alone, the Palatium-Item reported.

He was convicted of rape, kidnapping, felony penetration, aggravated burglary, theft and escape.

DNA evidence linked him to several rape victims. A witness picked him out of a lineup in another and an FBI crime lab was able to confirm an exact match to black electrical tape used in several rapes that he borrowed from a neighbor, police said, the Pal-Item reported.

Barker terrorized the community all over again when he escaped from the old Preble County Jail along with another inmate in August of 1994. They used hacksaws to cut the bars to their fourth-floor window and bed sheets and rope to lower themselves to the ground, the newspaper report.

After 23 days as a fugitive, the FBI arrested him in Houston, Texas, at a construction site where he was working. Once he returned, the new Preble County Jail was ready for him, the Pal-Item reported Sept. 24, 1994.

It’s not clear when the board will reach a decision.

However, even if he is granted parole, he still has a 50-year sentence to serve in Indiana.

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