A Baltimore man who was charged Nov. 26 with second-degree rape has been cleared of the charge by county police, who say they had insufficient evidence to go forward with the case.
William Lee Bebber, 55, of the 700 block of Snowberry Court, was released from the Howard County Detention Center Tuesday after spending seven nights in jail.
Bebber had been arrested and charged with the Aug. 22 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Laurel. The victim had positively identified Bebber from a photo array of five other look-alike suspects, court recordssaid.
But Bebber, who reportedly passed a polygraph examination and provided police with an alibi, steadfastly maintained that the victim identified the wrong man.
Sgt. Louis P. D'Antuono, who heads the county police crimes against persons section, said the charge was dismissed after detectives made a post-arrest review that "left us with some doubt."
"We didn't feel that we had enough to obtain a conviction," D'Antuono said.
Bebber, who faced a possible 20-year prison sentence if convicted, could not be reached for comment.
Police said they are continuing the investigation into the attack, which occurred shortly after midnight while the victim was walking in the 9700 block of Covered Wagon Drive.
The victim reported a stranger ina white automobile followed her for a short distance, then chased her and tackled her, court records said.
She said the man threw her to the ground, struck her in the head and raped her.
Police put together a sketch of the suspect from her description and the drawing was later published in The Howard County Sun.
A caller contacted police and said she knew a man who resembled the sketch.
The caller identified the man as William Lee Bebber, court records said.
After obtaining a photograph of Bebber, police showed it to the victim, who then identified the man in the picture as the person who attacked her, court records said.