Judge Finds Probable Cause in Sex Abuse Case From 2006

A DC Superior Court judge ruled that a sexual abuse case has enough evidence to go to trial. 

The defendant is charged with first-degree sexual abuse while armed for allegedly sexually assaulting a victim by gunpoint in an alleyway near the 1900 block of 9th Street, NW, on Jan. 27, 2006. He was charged in May.

“I think the DNA match is sufficient to support the conclusion that the defendant is the person whose DNA was found on the victim,” Judge Neal Kravitz said during the Sept. 29 hearing  “There is also information from the detective on the defendant’s physical appearance that is consistent with the description from the victim.” 

Judge Kravitz chose to continue holding the defendant at the DC Jail.

“I do think this case has a tricky twist to it since the allegation comes from so long ago,” he said. “He has had several additional and more recent convictions, two violent, two involving firearms, he had his 2012 probation revoked.” 

“I don’t think enough time has passed to ensure the safety of the community,” Judge Kravitz continued..

The prosecution called on a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) cold-case detective to testify regarding his investigation and findings. He was the lead detective on the case since it was re-opened in 2017. 

The detective described his investigation, including his interviews with the victim and defendant, along with the testing of DNA evidence that matched the defendant’s DNA. 

DNA from a swab of the victim’s body, along with DNA on a scarf worn by the victim, was collected. The FBI confirmed the presence of DNA on both samples in 2006. In April 2020, the evidence was reviewed by the DC Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) and Uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) maintained by the FBI. 

The FBI reported a match with a convicted offender shortly after the DNA was uploaded in April. The detective explained how the DNA recovered from the crime scene matched the defendant’s DNA. 

Defense attorney Dana Page asked the detective how the defendant responded when he was arrested and interviewed. The defendant had denied committing the crime and appeared to not know about the events or the victim. 

Page also said the second piece of DNA evidence, on the victims scarf, had not been tested and added to the CODIS database. 

However, the prosecutor said the scarf was currently being tested and results would be back before trial. 

Page asked for the defendant’s release, arguing that even with a criminal history, he had not been convicted of any crimes since 2013. 

“The last time he was arrested was in 2013, and his probation expired in March of 2016,” Page said. “He has a family who he has taken care of, he has a job in construction, a union membership and recently got cleared to be able to work construction at the Homeland Security Building, which takes some investigation.” 

The prosecutor asked Judge Kravitz to hold the defendant, citing his criminal history and the violent nature of the alleged offense.

Judge Kravitz ultimately sided with the prosecution. 

The defense also rejected the prosecution’s plea deal. The defense filed a counteroffer, which the prosecution rejected. 

The defendant is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 6 for a felony status conference.

This story was written by John Sullivan