First test results Sept. 7 linked Dixson to one rape, but police were unable to locate him, Brown said. At first, federal officials believed he had fled to Mexico before marshals tracked him to Louisiana.
Police say DNA evidence so far has linked Dixson to four rapes. They are awaiting DNA tests from two other cases; in three other cases, such evidence wasn't available.
In the early 1990s, Dixson, a convicted robber, was accused of raping a woman at gunpoint, according to the former prosecutor in that case.
"The case made a deep impression on me," said Colleen Skinner, the prosecutor in that case who is now a private attorney in Dallas. "It was just so brazen."
But the woman's death in a freak accident — a lightning strike — made prosecution impossible, Skinner said.
"My hands were tied," Skinner said. "Even if the rape kit had shown he was the perpetrator, I would need a witness to tell the jury that it wasn't consensual. I would need a witness to tell me, 'He forced me.' I would need a witness to testify, 'It happened in Dallas County.'"
Police spoke to Dixson about this summer's rapes in south Dallas after a tipster identified him as a possible person of interest. But police have said they had to release him after their interview because they didn't have charges to hold him on. Dixson did voluntarily submit a saliva swab, which was then used to link him to DNA from four rapes.
Dixson has been part of the area's neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January. The group's president, Alendra Lyons, called his arrest a "relief to the community."
State criminal records show Dixson was convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993. He served more than 10 years in prison, a state prisons spokeswoman said. He was also arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge, according to Dallas County records.
Lyons said she wasn't aware of Dixson's criminal past and that the incident had spurred her group to look into whether it could afford background checks on new volunteers.
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