'Crossbow' rape trial starts today

August 08, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

Alphonso Quinn, who sold home security systems for a living, goes on trial in Prince George's County today on charges of terrorizing a Bowie woman with a crossbow and raping her in her home last summer.

Mr. Quinn was indicted in October on 44 counts, including first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, false imprisonment and weapons charges in four attacks between June and September. If convicted of rape, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

He is accused of being the "crossbow rapist," who police said broke into four homes in Bowie and Glenn Dale in the predawn hours armed with a crossbow, threatened women and raped them.

Prince George's police also claim that Mr. Quinn, 37, of Glenn Dale, tried to capitalize on the fear in the neighborhoods by selling home security systems and distributing printed advertisements that cited one of the alleged assaults.

Mr. Quinn pleaded not criminally responsible, but Joseph Niland, his attorney, said he will withdraw that plea today because a psychiatrist who examined his client at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center found that he was sane.

"[Mr. Quinn] has some serious mental problems, but they are not connected to the case," Mr. Niland said.

Mr. Niland would not say if his client would testify during the trial in the attack Sept. 5 on the woman in her Bowie home.

Police say their evidence includes telephone calls that investigators claim were made to the victim after the alleged rape.

"They are going to rely on tying him to the telephone calls," Mr. Niland said.

Mr. Quinn was arrested Sept. 13 when police traced one of the calls to a pay phone in the 5800 block of E. Capitol St. in Washington.

Investigators also linked Mr. Quinn to the crime with a DNA test, police said.

When they searched Mr. Quinn's car after his arrest, police found a crossbow, an assault rifle and the duct tape investigators say was used to bind and gag each of the victims, authorities said. Police also say they found a piece of paper in his car with the woman's name and work phone number written on it.

According to court records, Mr. Quinn admitted the rapes after his arrest and told police that he broke into all the homes through the sliding glass doors. He said he would clean up the glass from the doors so he would not have to walk on it, the documents say.

He also said he tied up the victims with rope and taped their mouths shut, according to court records. Police say he would stay in the houses for several hours talking to the women.

Police say that Mr. Quinn installed home security alarms for a Maryland company for three weeks last year and used that experience to avoid detection in the Sept. 5 attack in the home that had an alarm. He left the company, and apparently was trying to start his own business.

Police found in his car printed fliers that warned, "Don't let it happen to you. Woman recently assaulted in Lottsford. That's too close to home. It is happening in OUR neighborhood. The dog was shot by the assailant."

In an attack June 7, the rapist shot his victim's dog with a crossbow.

Mr. Quinn is charged in that assault as well as the Aug. 3 rape of a woman in her Greenbelt home in front of her husband and the rape of a woman in her Bowie home Aug. 16.

He is scheduled to be tried separately in those cases.

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