Thirty-six years ago a young woman was raped close to her Maryland home and after years of investigations the police decided to close the case because they had no leads as to who would be held responsible for her suffering. However, in 2010 the case was reopened by the Montgomery County Police, and they were able to use decades old DNA evidence in order to pin-point the man responsible for her rape; Richard Ricketts. According to reports, this case was among some of their oldest cold cases that were left unsolved.
Just last week the court convicted Ricketts for rape in the first degree as well as two charges for first-degree sexual offenses. He had been living in Florida at the time he was arrested and was already listed as a resisted sex offender. The victim remains unidentified to protect her privacy, however she is now in her sixties. In court she clearly explained the happening the night of the rape, claiming that she worked as a sales manager and on some times had to work late. In October 1977, it was just an ordinary late work night when she parked at her home parking spot.
The victim reports that when she got out of her vehicle she heard footsteps behind her and she kept walking, just a bit faster. However, the suspect then grabbed her and placed her into a chokehold and threw her to the grass where he raped her. She said the rape itself was fast, but she was more so scared that he might try and take her life. Her neighbors heard her screams and came out to save her, they chased the man however were unable to catch him. And from that point he was never to be found.
The police investigated the case for two years, and they did countless interviews, acquired forensic sample and continually hit a dead end. The victim could remember little about the suspect, because he grabbed her from behind. However, the officer and detective who worked on the case all those years ago, Paula Obal, claimed that she has committed to helping cold cases for sexual assault victims, including this particular victim.
Ricketts DNA came across the police database after further investigation because of an arrest that was made in 1999 where he was convicted of burglary. As a result, he was arrested and tied back to the rape that occurred 36 years ago. This man has many past convictions on his record, and there is a chance that when he is sentenced in April that he could be facing life in prison.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a crime that occurred recently, or for a cold case similar to this, contact a Tampa criminal defense attorney immediately. At Thomas & Paulk we will do whatever we can to fight for you, call us today for more information!