Scott Carroll takes notes in the Suffolk County courthouse in...

Scott Carroll takes notes in the Suffolk County courthouse in Riverhead during his trial, at which he was convicted of four rapes and other crimes in the spring of 1988. Credit: Newsday Photo/John H. Cornell Jr.

The "South Shore rapist" — the serial predator who terrorized affluent neighborhoods in Babylon, Islip and other Long Island communities during the 1980s in a four-year string of sexual assaults and burglaries — died Friday in Coxsackie Correctional Facility, records show.

The death of Scott Carroll was confirmed by officials and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Service website.

Carroll, 60, was the first defendant in New York State whose conviction was based largely on a voice lineup. He was sentenced to 650 years in prison in 1988, although he would have likely not served more than 50 years because of a state ceiling on consecutive sentences.

The DOCCS website did not list a cause of death. John Martin, a funeral director who works with the Greene County coroner’s office, said Carroll died from natural causes but that he was barred by law from elaborating.

"I would classify Scott Carroll as the most dangerous criminal in the history of Suffolk County," said retired Suffolk police Det. Bob Doyle, who led the task force that apprehended Carroll and, over his career, participated in 200 homicide investigations.

Doyle said Carroll was also a suspect in burglaries and sexual assaults in Florida during the 1980s, and investigators believed he was the "East End rapist," responsible for a string of sexual assaults on eastern Suffolk during the 1970s, when he was a teen.

The attacks he was charged with began in January 1984 and ended in February 1987 when Carroll, then 27, was arrested. The youngest victim was 10, Doyle said, and the oldest was 60.

Prosecutors said Carroll stalked his victims for days, then broke into homes and confronted them in their beds, holding a screwdriver to their throats. He would put a pillowcase over their heads, lead them outside and rape them before leading them back to their bedrooms.

"I have represented some horrible people," said retired criminal defense attorney Eric Naiburg, Carroll’s lawyer during his 1988 trial. "He was the worst."

Most burglars avoid occupied homes — and potential confrontations with residents — but Carroll seemed to get a thrill out of it, according to Doyle.

"If he wasn’t stopped, he would have taken it to the next level," the retired cop said, "and the next level was murder."

Carroll, a Staten Island factory worker, was found guilty in May 1988 of 31 charges in a 54-count indictment, including four rapes and an attempted rape. The jury, which deliberated for 10 days, was deadlocked on 21 other charges. Carroll was acquitted on two counts of burglary.

One victim, who was 16 when Carroll broke into her home and raped her, said she has built a fulfilling life in the decades since the attack, but the trauma continues to haunt her. One consolation, she said, is that she no longer has to write letters every two years asking a parole board to keep Carroll incarcerated.

"He does not deserve to walk the same earth as I do," the woman said. Newsday does not identify victims of sexual assault.

She has become an advocate for the rights of crime victims, and she wants offenders like Carroll to be eligible for parole every four years, rather than every two. Victims, she said, should not have to revisit traumatic crimes every two years.

"The fact that he is dead does not change the fact that she has to live with the victimization," said Laura Ahearn, executive director of the Crime Victims Center.

Doyle led a task force of 40 detectives from the Nassau and Suffolk police departments that scoured reports of similar crimes across Long Island and New York City. The investigation took place long before the widespread use of computers and the internet, Doyle said, and the work was hard.

Investigators eventually identified Carroll as a suspect after he was arrested in connection with similar crimes in Florida.

Carroll wore a ski mask during the attacks, making it difficult for victims to identify him. Doyle said investigators surreptitiously taped Carroll, who had served time in jail for auto theft, speaking to his parole officer. They presented that recording and recordings of four other men saying the same thing. Six victims were able to identify Carroll through his voice.

The victim praised Doyle and other cops who brought Carroll to justice. "The police were incredible," she said. "They were my advocates."

CORRECTION: An ealier version of this story gave the wrong age for Carroll's youngest victim.

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