Jury finds man guilty in 1988 rape

DNA match led to arrest in Cape St. Claire assault

March 22, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

An Anne Arundel County jury deliberated for less than an hour yesterday before announcing a rape conviction in what police described as the first cold-case DNA match within the Maryland genetic database, which includes previous offenders.

Robert Marshall Eiseman, 41, had been convicted of rape in Montgomery County and was only weeks from being paroled from a 20-year sentence that he began serving in 1989. Then an Anne Arundel County grand jury indicted him on charges stemming from a 1988 rape.

Much of the trial, which began Tuesday, focused on DNA evidence. Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen E. Rogers contended that advances in forensic science enabled her to conclude that the odds that anyone but Eiseman committed the attack in Cape St. Claire were astronomical.

FOR THE RECORD - An article that appeared in the March 22 Sun incorrectly described the criminal record of Robert Marshall Eiseman. According to court records, he was convicted in 1989 of an attempted second-degree sex offense and attempted murder in Montgomery County. He was completing a 20-year sentence when indicted on a rape charge in Anne Arundel County. Eiseman was convicted of rape in Anne Arundel County and is scheduled to be sentenced June 4. The Sun regrets the error.

Rogers said she would seek a life term for Eiseman, who also was convicted on five related charges, when Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North sentences him June 4. Rogers noted his past conviction and the brutality of the crime.

"DNA is just extremely difficult to overcome," said defense lawyer Deane A. Shure, who challenged the DNA evidence and argued that there was uncertainty in who handled it.

He said he would seek a less harsh sentence for his client, who he said obtained a college degree and helped other inmates while in prison.

The victim testified that she was 22 years old at the time of the incident and was returning home from work in Parole when a stranger confronted her in the front yard of her home early Dec. 1, 1988 and sexually assaulted her.

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