BY EILEEN KELLEY SUN SENTINEL/TNS
FORT LAUDERDALE – A 60-year-old sex offender who is suspected of terrorizing South Florida women decades ago as the “Pillowcase Rapist” was led into a courtroom Tuesday, where he blurted out, “I’m not guilty.”
Robert Eugene Koehler is being held without bond in a Brevard County Jail until he is transferred to Miami.
Authorities swarmed the registered sex offender’s Palm Bay home on Jan. 18 and arrested Koehler on failure to appear charges, according to state records. But the alleged crime, it seems, is much greater than Koehler failing to show up for a court appointment or perhaps for failing to check in with law enforcement as sex offenders are required to do.
The Miami Herald reported Monday that authorities suspect Koehler is the infamous Pillowcase Rapist.
The Pillowcase Rapist is thought to have sexually assaulted more than 40 women across South Florida between May 1981 to February 1986.
According to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Koehler was arrested by the Palm Beach Police Department in 1990 on a sexual battery charge. He was found guilty the following year and sentenced to six months in jail. Details of that case were not immediately available.
According to WESH-TV in Orlando, police gave Koehler’s neighbors minor clues about Koehler’s arrest, telling them what Koehler did was very bad and they’d find out more on the national news.
“Oh my God so we lived next to the devil,” the television station quoted a neighbor, Erika Wentzel, as saying.