SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJZ) — A 25-year-old cold case has been solved. DNA has linked a serial rapist to another attack, this time in Montgomery County. Now police are pushing the importance of DNA collection.
Meghan McCorkell has the details.
Police cracked this cold case as the controversy swirls over whether investigators should be allowed to collect DNA from felony suspects.
In 1987, a rapist attacked a woman, climbing into her bedroom window in the Greencastle Woods subdivision of Silver Spring. For 25 years, this case went unsolved–until Monday.
A DNA hit pointed to William Joseph Trice.
“The evidence was submitted at that time, but we didn’t have the technology that we do now,” said Officer Janelle Smith, Montgomery County Police.
He’s the same suspect convicted in the 1988 rape of an Anne Arundel County woman.
“It was a very brutal rape, breaking and entering, where the young lady was assaulted in her bedroom, choked nearly to death but survived,” said David Cordle, chief investigator with the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Officials say DNA could link him to more attacks.
“There’s a good possibility that there are other cases out there,” Cordle said.
The collection of DNA from suspects here in Maryland is now at issue in front of the Maryland Supreme Court. The State Appeals Court ceased the collection of DNA from suspects in violent crimes, saying it is illegal search and seizure but the Supreme Court has stepped in, issuing a stay to that order.
“All the ducks are lining up in that Doug Gansler and the Attorney General’s Office are going to get the Supreme Court to hear their case. That doesn’t mean they win but you’ve got to figure it’s leaning in that direction,” said Byron Warnken, http://www.warnkenlaw.com.
Law enforcement hopes the high court rules to continue the collection of DNA.
“Otherwise, this case would have just sat there because they had absolutely no leads whatsoever,” Smith said.
The ACLU has spoken out against the collection of DNA from suspects. The organization refused to comment until the Supreme Court makes a more definitive ruling.
The suspect in the cold case, William Joseph Trice, committed suicide in an Anne Arundel County prison in 2010, just days after he was convicted in that first rape case.