Archive for Saturday, January 19, 2008

Suspect to stand trial in ‘97 rape case

January 19, 2008


A Douglas County judge on Friday ordered a Lawrence man to be tried on charges of kidnapping and raping a Kansas University student 10 years ago.

Judge Jack Murphy made his ruling after a daylong preliminary hearing that included testimony from the victim, now 31 and living in another state.

"It's always been in the back of my head," the woman said about the incident. "It's something I've never forgotten."

The 34-year-old suspect was arrested and charged in October after a routine check by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation of old, unidentified fingerprints that were on file. A match was found with fingerprints taken from the suspect and entered into the national database. The suspect at the time was being held in the Johnson County Jail on an unrelated charge.

Lawrence police were notified, and investigators obtained a DNA sample from the suspect. KBI tests showed a statistical probability of a match with DNA evidence taken in the Lawrence rape investigation, said KBI DNA expert Sidney Schueler. She said the KBI can give statistical probabilities and frequency of a match.

Under questioning by Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Amy McGowan, the victim said that on May 11, 1997, she ended a night out with her boyfriend by driving back to Naismith Hall, a private dormitory where she lived, at 1800 Naismith Drive. Her boyfriend also parked his car in the lot.

The woman said she started to get out of her car when she was approached by a man with a gun. The man forced his way into the car and drove her to the parking lot at Lawrence High School, 1901 La.

"He was saying, 'don't look at me, don't look at me or I'll shoot you,'" the woman said.

At the high school, the man forced her to walk to a more secluded location by some shrubs and raped her, the woman said.

After the attack, the man drove to a nearby side street, got out of the car and walked off.

"I want you to drive away and you'll never see me again," the victim said the man told her.

The woman has never been able to identify her rapist. At one point he put on a pantyhose type of face covering, she said. He also wore gloves during the attack, she said.

Murphy ruled that there was probable cause to order a trial. A trial date is pending. The suspect remains in Douglas County Jail on $500,000 bond.

The Journal-World generally doesn't identify sex crime suspects unless they are convicted.


Steve Jacob 10 years, 2 months ago

I would say after 10 years, this might be a tough case. But I have not seen the guys "record" either.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 2 months ago

DNA has made it possible to free innocent people, and now it's making it possible to finally bring someone to justice. I don't think it will be tough to make a case at all.

Fishman 10 years, 2 months ago

Fry the guy if it matches. Something else good that comes out of using DNA. Let the innocent free, and jail the guilty. Nice to get someone like that off the street. Maybe it will also solve some other rapes since he was still close by.

Crossfire 10 years, 2 months ago

Kansas S 263 (2001)

Extends the statute of limitations for certain sexually violent crimes to one year from the date on which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing.

Sigmund 10 years, 2 months ago

What a horrible experience for this woman and I hope the suspect who was charged is her rapist and he is convicted. I also hope no one, especially the victim, takes the following discussion as anything but what it is, a discussion of the law.

Crossfire (Anonymous) says: "Kansas S 263 (2001) Extends the statute of limitations for certain sexually violent crimes to one year from the date on which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing."

Under KSA 21-3106 (3)(a), prosecution "must be commenced within the limitation of time provided by the law pertaining to such offense or one year from the date on which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing, whichever is later."

KSA 21-3106 use to provide a five year statute of limitation for the crime of rape. Time limits on prosecutions are meant to insure that the evidence is reliable enough to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence gets lost and memories of investigators, victims, witnesses and defendants can fade. But DNA has changed the rules.

As far as I can tell KSA 21-3106 completely eliminates the five year limit with no DNA evidence but where DNA does exist the limit is one year from the time it identifies a particular suspect.

So without DNA evidence a case can be brought 30 years from now when the defendant is unlikely to be able to provide an alibi (I was at a movie with my friends) and there is no DNA to prove his innocence. On the other hand with DNA evidence the prosecution can wait to have it analyzed for 30 years but then have only one year to bring their case.

Hopefully someone can show me how I have missed something or misread the law because I believe that it should be the reverse. In cases with DNA there should be no time limits and without DNA the old limits of 5 years should be applied.

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