Serial rapist sentenced to 40 years

'It is appropriate to cage him away,' DA says of Eric Hemphill

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SAN ANTONIO – A serial rapist will spend 40 years behind bars after pleading no contest to sexual assault charges involving a child and an elderly or disabled person, along with burglary, investigators said Tuesday.

Eric Scott Hemphill, 36, terrorized the most vulnerable of victims, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said in a news release.

Hemphill was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison.

In May 2015, Hemphill tried to sexually assault two young girls after breaking into their West Side apartment, LaHood said. One of the girls got away and called for help. Surveillance video caught images of Hemphill leaving the apartment.

The girls identified Hemphill in a phone lineup, and after his DNA was entered into a national database, San Antonio police linked him to three other unsolved sexual assaults in the area, officials said.

In November 2013, a 13-year-old girl was hit over the head with a hammer and forced inside a vehicle, according to investigators. She had been walking home at the time.

She woke up near Austin Highway and Perrin Beitel hours later, feeling disoriented. The teen had been sexually assaulted, police said.

The DNA matched Hemphill’s, LaHood said.

DNA also linked Hemphill to two North Side sex assaults involving a 63-year-old woman and a 79-year-old woman, officials said.

LaHood said that Hemphill knocked on the victims’ door, claiming to be with a cable company, and said he needed to fix the modem in their bedroom. Once he got in the house, he sexually assaulted the women, LaHood said.

When San Antonio police asked Hemphill about the crimes, he denied any involvement. After his sentencing, one of the victim’s daughters said the assault affected her mother dramatically. She’ll never be the same, the daughter added.

“This defendant preyed on the most vulnerable of our community,” LaHood said. “It is appropriate to cage him away.”

All of the charges against Hemphill -- aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault of an elderly or disabled person and burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit a felony -- are first-degree felonies.

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