An American man named Steven Ray Hessler has been sentenced to 650 years in prison for a series of sexual attacks he carried out between 1982 and 1985 in Shelby County, Tennessee.

The investigators were able to find the culprit with the help of DNA technology after almost 35 years since the crimes were committed. The breakthrough in the case came when the DNA found at one of the crime scenes matched the DNA sample taken from the envelope of Hessler's water bill, per a report in The Mirror.

The authorities worked with Parabon NanoLabs, to help them solve similar unsolved cases using DNA technology. The firm was then able to find two possible suspects in the sexual assault cases and one of them was Hessler, whose DNA was subpoenaed and matched with the sample.

The investigators also searched his house and found further evidence linking him to the crimes. They found photographs stolen from victims, handcuffs and about 30 pairs of women's underwear.

Hessler, 59, has now been convicted of two counts of rape, six counts of unlawful deviate conduct, seven counts of burglary resulting in bodily injury, three counts of criminal deviate conduct, and one count of robbery.

Shelby County prosecutor James B. Landwerlen during the hearing said that Hessler assaulted seven women, a 16-year-old girl, and two men in the 1980s. The rapist would break into houses in the middle of the night, tie his victims up, and would sexually assault them before fleeing the crime scenes.

"Steven Ray Hessler is one of the most evil, dangerous, sadistic predators that I've had the pleasure of prosecuting," Landwerlen said in a statement. According to Hessler's lawyer, Bryan Cook, he is planning to appeal his conviction.

Cook added: "Several potentially viable suspects were ruled out by DNA, although eight of 10 victims were not DNA cases — which was a central issue in the case." He further stated: "Many physical descriptions by victims of the attacker did not match Hessler's age, build, weight, eye color, or education."

Hessler had earlier served 10 years in prison after he was convicted of rape in nieghbouring Decatur County in the 1990s.

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Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON