Rape victim breaks silence on nabbing a killer, exonerating a man

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WEST HARTFORD -- A West Hartford woman who survived an attack at the hands of Pedro Miranda, has broken her silence regarding her ordeal and its role in nabbing the convicted killer.

The attack happened in 1998 at a party in Hartford. Kathleen Bruno said Pedro Miranda was a friend of her friend. She said he asked her to drive to an ATM with him and she said yes.

"I just thought everybody knew him. He knew everybody. I'm safe," Bruno told Fox CT in an exclusive interview, the first time she has spoken out about what happened to her.

But while driving, Bruno said she got an eerie feeling from Miranda. She claims she asked him to pull over and he would not. That is when Miranda drove her to an industrial park, and attacked and raped her, she said.

According to court paperwork, Bruno contacted police and was transported to Hartford Hospital, where she took a rape kit.

Court documents reveal that police tracked down Miranda and charged him with first-degree sexual assault. In November of 1998, Miranda took a plea deal, pleading guilty to third-degree sexual assault. He also had to register as a sex offender.

More than a decade later, Miguel Roman, 52, was cleared in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Carmen Lopez 17. Roman was wrongly convicted after Lopez was found strangled in a Hartford apartment. He served more than 20 years before the Innocence Project reopened his case and got him exonerated.

The reopening of the case allowed prosecutors to link Miranda to the crime after running DNA from the murder scene against the sex offender registry. They got a hit with Miranda’s DNA, a direct result of Bruno's case according to court documents.

"This sexually violent offense resulted in Miranda’s requirement to submit DNA and register as a sex offender," Miranda’s arrest warrant states in reference to the attack on Bruno.

Bruno said it gives her solace to know she helped track down Miranda.

"Pedro Miranda was not on the map until my assault. He wasn't even on the map. So, I know he sits in prison everyday knowing that I'm the one that put him there and that helps me," Bruno said.

Miranda is currently serving two life sentences for the murder of Carmen Lopez and another teenager, Mayra Cruz, 13. Charges against him for the murder of another teen, Rosa Valentin, were dropped due to lack of evidence.