Man convicted of raping Alexandria lifeguard pleads guilty to earlier Fairfax Co. rape

A Virginia man who was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for the 2016 rape of a lifeguard at a deserted swimming pool in Alexandria, Virginia, has been convicted in an earlier rape of a lifeguard in Fairfax County, WTOP has learned.

In October 2019, Jesse Bjerke pleaded guilty to six felonies, including rape, abduction with intent to defile and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He attacked a lifeguard during the 2016 Labor Day weekend at a pool on South Pickett Street.

On Tuesday, after a judge approved a change of venue to Alexandria, Bjerke pleaded no contest and was found guilty of raping a woman in Fairfax County, on Aug. 1, 2014. He was also found guilty of object sexual penetration, abduction and firearm use in the commission of a felony — all felonies.

Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter told WTOP that Bjerke’s attorneys agreed to the change of venue, so their client would be sentenced in a single hearing for crimes in both jurisdictions.

The plea agreement resulting in Bjerke’s 2019 conviction — which specified Bjerke was a suspect in the unsolved Fairfax case — said prosecutors would not seek a life sentence, although Porter said the individual sentences from both attacks could result in Bjerke spending the rest of his life in prison. Thursday, Porter said the plea agreement remains intact.

In the 2019 conviction, police in Alexandria — for the first time — ran DNA through public genealogical databases and developed a family tree based on known DNA profiles, which pointed to Bjerke as a suspect. After Bjerke was arrested, a buccal swab of his DNA matched DNA found on the victim.

Bjerke will be sentenced for both crimes on May 15 by Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Lisa Kemler.

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