Nov 30, 2009 4:22 PM by David Ortiviz

"Ether Man" in court for alleged Pueblo rape

Suspected serial rapist Robert Howard Bruce was in court Monday on a charge of sexual assault in Pueblo in 2006. Bruce, wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit, was in court for his first appearance hearing in that case.

Pueblo Police say Bruce may be linked to 21 rapes in six states. Officers say DNA testing has linked Bruce to a rape on Pueblo's south side in 2006.

Authorities in New Mexico dubbed Bruce the "Ether Man,"  because he allegedly used a rag soaked in chemicals to subdue his victims.

In court Monday, the judge set a pre-trial conference hearing for Bruce in mid-December.

Bruce faces other separate charges, including attempted murder. The 47-year old is accused of trying to blow up a police officer's house in Pueblo West in October. The police officer was scheduled to testify against Bruce in a Peeping Tom case.


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