Judge Pushes Ruling on Release in 30- Year Old Homicide

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In a Feb. 1 hearing, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan delayed ruling on a motion of release in a homicide from 1993.

William Ransford, 59, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the strangulation of Debra McManus, 39, near Ballou High School on Oct. 23, 1993.

McManus was found near the woods by the high school with visible scratches and signs of strangulation. DNA testing in 1993 did not provide any definitive profiles, howeverthe evidence was retested in 2020 and DNA from McManus’s left sock matched with Ransford’s.

Defense attorneys Dana Page and Molly Bunke argued for the release of Ransford, outlining a plan, and emphasizing his weaker state due to an undisclosed medical condition.. 

“Due to his fragility, he is a low risk to the community,” Bunke said.

The prosecution opposed release because of Ransford’s criminal history. “It does not take much physical strength to sexually assault another person.” 

The prosecution also discussed an open investigation into a rape in Maryland that has ties to Ransford.

Ransford has prior rape allegations in 1993, as well as sexual assault allegations in 2001, and has a failure to register as a sex offender conviction.

Judge Raffinan expressed concern for Ransford’s admittance back into the community and needed more time to look over all information before making a ruling.

The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7. 

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