Police use DNA to charge homeless man with rape

Evidence was collected from suspect's cigarette

November 05, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A 43-year-old homeless man was being held on charges of rape and assault yesterday after police said he gave them the DNA evidence used to connect him to the attack of a Baltimore County woman in January.

The evidence was on a cigarette.

When Edward Leon Medley was questioned earlier this year at the Garrison precinct station by police looking for information about a recent robbery and a rape, he smoked a cigarette and left the butt, said Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman.

Medley didn't offer any useful information, but Officers Michael B. Koffenberger and Craig S. Shriver picked up the butt and had it tested on the chance that saliva was left on the cigarette and that it might match DNA from an unsolved crime, Toohey said.

Their instincts turned out to be right. The DNA matched that in cells collected after a woman was raped at knifepoint in her home in the Lochearn area in January, police said.

Medley was charged in a warrant with the attack last month and his picture was released to the news media in hopes that someone would spot the suspect.

Someone did, Toohey said.

A television viewer who saw Medley's photo on a newscast called police to say he had seen a man who matched Medley's description in downtown Baltimore near Gay Street. From that tip, investigators tracked Medley to a Gay Street homeless shelter, where he was arrested Monday.

According to court records, Medley was charged in 1997 with rape and burglary and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released in May 2001 and was placed on parole until March 2005.

Medley was being held yesterday at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail, charged with first-degree rape, first-degree assault, a first-degree sex offense, burglary and a weapons offense.

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