Manheim Township man fatally shoots himself after police attempt arrest for decades-old rapes


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A Manheim Township man fatally shot himself Wednesday morning after police attempted to arrest him for two rapes that occurred nearly 20 years ago.

Pennsylvania State Police arrived at 39-year-old Charles Musser’s home around 7:15 a.m. in Sutton Place to arrest him for allegedly raping two women in 2000 and 2001. Musser was tied to both cases through DNA evidence.

When told of the warrants, police say that Musser refused to comply and locked his front door with a deadbolt. Police argued with Musser before he ultimately retreated to his bedroom and fired a single shot.

Officers entered after breaking a window and unlocking the door, where they found and evacuated a child from the home. Musser was found dead in the bedroom and announced deceased by the coroner’s office.

In 2005, police filed charges against a “John Doe” for the assault of two women, which was recently amended as DNA revealed that the same person was also responsible for the rapes.

“My office approved charges because we believed the totality of the evidence, to include a DNA match, pointed to Mr. Musser as the perpetrator of these acts, and we intended to prosecute him accordingly,” District Attorney Heather Adams said.

Police believe Musser had no relation to either of the vicitms.

  • The first case occurred on Nov. 10, 2000, when an elderly woman had her home in Providence Township broken into while she was alone. Police say she was raped, and that the attacker proceeded to kick her in the chest before fleeing.
  • The second case was nearly a year later on Nov. 8, 2001, when a woman was hit on the head while she was riding a bike. She was then forced into a nearby field, raped, in addition to having her backpack and coat stolen.

The two cases were reassigned in 2019, which led to an investigation of nearly a hundred suspects. Musser was found DNA positive after police collected his trash that was left on the street for pickup.

Musser was charged with five felonies, including two counts of rape, robbery, burglary, and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He also was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault.

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