updated 8/17/2005 8:10:00 PM ET 2005-08-18T00:10:00

A convicted rapist has been charged in a rape case that resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of another man who spent 21 years behind bars for the crime, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Joel Bill Caulk, 58, who is imprisoned in Massachusetts on rape and robbery charges, was indicted Tuesday in North Carolina on charges of rape, sexual offense and robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the March 31, 1981, attack, prosecutors said.

Leo Waters was cleared of the same crime by a DNA test conducted in 2003. Charges against him were dismissed more than a year ago after he had served 21 years in prison.

DNA testing wasn’t available when Waters was convicted. Instead, authorities determined that his blood type matched that of the rapist and the victim identified him as her attacker. He was given two consecutive life sentences.

Caulk was charged after the crime scene DNA sample was compared to his samples in a national registry, Jacksonville Police Detective Len Condry said.

Caulk’s criminal record dates to 1970 when he was convicted in three sexual assaults in San Diego. Caulk was known in California as the “want-ad rapist,” for the manner of choosing victims through newspaper ads listing household items for sale. In 1987, he was convicted in Maine for the 1981 shooting death of a real estate agent.

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