DNA Testing Leads to Arrest of Suspect in 1993 Rape in Delaware, Police Say - NBC 10 Philadelphia

DNA Testing Leads to Arrest of Suspect in 1993 Rape in Delaware, Police Say

Jeffrey King, 54, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was arrested and indicted for a sexual assault that occurred in Newark, Delaware, in 1993, police announced Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DNA Testing Leads to Arrest in 26-Year-Old Cold Case

    An arrest was made more than two decades after a rape in 1993. NBC10's Tim Furlong shows us the federal program that's allowing police to obtain DNA testing on rape kits from unsolved cases.

     

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Jeffrey King, 54, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was arrested and indicted for a sexual assault that occurred in Newark, Delaware, in 1993.

    • The case initially went cold but was reopened in 2017 thanks to the US Department of Justice Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI).

    • SAKI is a grant program designed to address unsubmitted sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody.

    A federal program allowing police to obtain DNA testing on rape kits from unsolved cases led to the arrest of a man who allegedly raped a woman 26 years ago.

    Jeffrey King, 54, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was arrested and indicted for a sexual assault that occurred in Newark, Delaware, in 1993, police announced Tuesday.

    L to R: A sketch of the 1993 rapist. A photo of Jeffrey King. See larger image here.
    Photo credit: Newark Police Department

    On Aug. 4, 1993, at 2:42 a.m., a 22-year-old woman was walking on Barksdale Road in the area of King William Street when she was sexually assaulted. The suspect stole the women’s items and clothing before fleeing the scene on foot.

    The woman reported the attack and gave police a description of the suspect. A sexual assault examination was also conducted on the woman at a local hospital and a composite sketch of the suspect was released to the public.

    Despite this, a suspect was not identified and the case went cold.

    That changed in November of 2017 when the case was reopened as part of the US Department of Justice Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI). SAKI is a grant program designed to address unsubmitted sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody in order to help provide resolution for victims.

    Under SAKI, the sexual assault kit from the 1993 rape case was sent to a private laboratory for analysis. The evidence from the kit revealed a male DNA profile which didn’t match any profiles shown in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), investigators said.

    The DNA was then sent to a second private lab in Virginia that specializes in predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence, a process known as DNA phenotyping. Investigators then used DNA evidence and phenotyping to produce trait predictions, including ancestry, eye color, hair color and skin color, for the person of interest in the rape.

    The DNA profile was then referenced against DNA samples in other databases which led to a list of possible suspects, which included Jeffrey King, officials said.

    Police said King was 28-years-old at the time of the rape and had connections to Newark, Delaware. In August, detectives conducted surveillance on King and collected an item that he threw out in the trash, police said.

    "So he discarded an item. We watched him discard it and we took that item, brought it to our Division of Forensic Science and they were able to extract DNA from that item," Newark Police Lt. Andrew Rubin said.

    King's DNA profile was then compared to the sample from the suspect in the 1993 rape. Investigators determined the two samples were consistent. King was indicted and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and taken into custody on Oct. 3 in Coatesville.

    After posting bail in Pennsylvania, King turned himself in to the Newark Police Department in Delaware on Oct. 10, investigators said.

    King was ordered to be held in default of $50,000 cash bail and turned over to the custody of the Howard R Young Correctional Facility in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “This is a case that will now be prosecuted in the criminal justice system,” Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings said.

    “But the work done on it to this point illustrates that the process of evaluating old criminal cases and evidence kits is showing results. It illustrates that there are police and prosecutors who are working towards justice every day, even in cases that may have seemed cold. And it tells survivors that when they come forward to report a rape or sexual assault, we will do everything we can to support them and seek justice on their behalf.”

    If you have any information on the incident, please call Detective T. Gerasimov at (302) 366-7100 x. 3474 or email tgerasimov@newark.de.us. You can also send tips to Newark Police.