Judge Finds Probable Cause in Sex Abuse Case After Hearing Detective’s Testimony

A detective from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit testified during a preliminary hearing for a defendant facing sex abuse and burglary charges.

Last July, police responded to a possible burglary in a Deanwood neighborhood apartment. Upon arrival, they learned that a sexual assault had also allegedly occurred. A detective from the Sexual Assault Unit responded to the scene and initiated an investigation. In February, a 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with fourth-degree sex abuse and first-degree burglary.

During the defendant’s preliminary hearing on April 12, a Sexual Assault Unit detective testified that the victim said she returned from a birthday party at approximately 5 a.m. on the day of the incident and fell asleep. Her cousin and two younger children were in the apartment at the time. The victim says she woke up to an unknown man molesting her, according to court documents.

The victim grabbed a frying pan and pursued the man into the next room. He escaped through an open window after she grabbed a knife from the kitchen, she says. Five out of six fingerprints from the window matched the defendant.

A crime scene technician arrived at the scene and collected a DNA sample from the victim’s body. The swabs pointed to the defendant as one of the contributors to the DNA.

During cross-examination, the detective confirmed to defense attorney Sara Kopecki that she was not the initial officer on the investigation. She said there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment, which did not appear to have been ransacked when officers arrived. However, the victim did say her purse had been dumped out.

The detective said the victim hadn’t left the window open and had not seen the defendant open the window. According to the detective, the complainant could not find her phone to call 911 and went to the neighbor’s house to see if they could call. When the neighbors did not answer the door, the victim stopped a passerby, who called the police. 

According to court documents, the 911 caller was interviewed and reported that they observed a man walk out the front door of the apartment building and walked around the building. The witness said they heard a car beep, like the sound when a button on a key fob is pressed and saw a car parked in front of the building. 

The victim and defendant do not know each other but have a remote connection through the victim’s sister.

Judge Marisa Demeo ruled that there is enough evidence for this case to go to trial. Kopecki asked for her client to be released from DC Jail, while the prosecution wanted him to remain detained.

The prosecutor read a letter from the victim, which stated, “I am scared to live alone again.”

“He needs help,” the victim stated about the defendant.

Judge Demeo said the evidence against the defendant is strong and called the nature of the offense troubling. She said there are no release conditions or combinations of release conditions that would ensure the community’s safety.

The defendant will remain at DC Jail while he awaits his next hearing, which is scheduled for May 12.