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.