Plea Entered in Cold Case Rapes, Slayings

Eric Dashell Gross faces capital murder charges in the decades-old strangling deaths of Jacqueline Ovsak and Dana Caper in Santa Monica.

The man charged in the grisly rape and strangling of two women in the early 2000s in Santa Monica pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder charges.

Eric Dashell Gross, 47, is charged with two counts of murder in the slayings of Jacqueline Ovsak in 2001 and Dana Caper in 2002, along with the special circumstance allegations that the two women were killed during the commission of a rape and that Ovsak was killed during the commission of a burglary.

There were no witnesses to either crime and the bodies of both women were found by passersby, Santa Monica Police have said.

Their homicides were investigated until leads ran out and the cases went cold. Then, five years ago, detectives assigned to the department's cold case unit, re-opened both investigations. The police said they were able to link Gross to the crimes after running DNA tests on rape kits.

He was arrested Aug. 15 in Los Angeles, and  has remained jailed without bail since then.

A preliminary hearing date to determine if there is enough evidence for Gross to stand trial is scheduled to be set Oct. 11.

— City News Service contributed to this report.


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