"John Doe" Charged in Cold Case Rape
Updated: Friday, April 12 2013, 11:43 PM EDT
DELAWARE -- Prosecutors honed in on a man they say raped a 13-year-old girl in 1993. The only problem is they don't know who he is.
"We had one day," Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien said.
One day to beat the time limit prosecutors are faced with called the Statute of Limitations. The Ohio statute limits the prosecution power after a specific number of years. In the case of rape, prosecutors have exactly 20 years after the crime to charge a suspect.
In 1993, O'Brien says an unidentified man kidnapped a 13-year-old near Ohio State Campus. He took her to a riverside park in Powell where she was raped.
Today, police still don't know his name but O'Brien says he left enough evidence behind to beat the clock on the Statute of Limitations.
"You can't have any more of an identifier than your DNA," she said.
He wasn't there to face the Grand Jury when they indicted him with rape but this suspect's DNA was there. DNA he left behind 20 years ago.
"It's probably better than a name because names change, your DNA doesn't," O'Brien said.
So far, she hasn't found a match to this crime but says someone out there has a matching code. The Delaware County Prosecutor hopes someday, she'll find that match.
"This poor young woman has now been waiting for justice for 20 years," O'Brien said. "Hopefully we can get that for her."
This type of prosecution is exploratory; there's only one other similar case in the state of Ohio. A judge could decide that since the suspect wasn't personally named at his indictment, the case could be thrown out.
O'Brien says there's already precedent to support her prosecution. If a judge does decide to throw the case out, citing the Ohio Statute of Limitations, O'Brien says she will appeal that decision.