DNA Bank Helps Convict Forest Park Rapist

DNA Bank Helps Convict Forest Park Rapist

A Brooklyn man convicted of a 2009 rape committed in Forest Park has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. The case hinged on DNA evidence that matched a sample the man was required to submit after another conviction in 2003.

Over the past two years, the case has been used by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown to highlight the need for expansion of the DNA databank.

“The fact that the defendant in this case was required to submit a sample to the DNA data bank … and thus was swiftly identified as the perpetrator in this case once again underscores its effectiveness as a tool of law enforcement,” Brown said.

The defendant, Carl Wallace, 30, was arrested after DNA evidence was recovered from his victim, a 29-year-old student-teacher who was passing through Forest Park on her way home around 2 a.m. on September 24, 2009. According to testimony, Wallace grabbed her from behind and threatened to stab her if she screamed. He dragged her into a thicket of trees and shoved her to the ground. After raping his victim, Wallace opened her purse and stole cash, an iPod and her identification. It was the third sexual assault in the park since the beginning of summer that year.

The victim was treated at a local hospital and a rape kit was administered. DNA from the rape kit matched the DNA sample Wallace submitted to the DNA data bank following a 2003 conviction on two counts of second-degree attempted burglary.

Currently, New York law requires that convicted felons provide DNA for less than half of all crimes, including all felonies and about 36 misdemeanors. The law, established in 1999, has been the focus of several expansion efforts over the last decade. In 2010, outgoing Governor David Paterson supported a law that would require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a crime. Governor Andrew Cuomo supported a similar law this year that did not make it through the Senate by the close of the last session.

In June, Cuomo wrote a letter supporting DNA legislation to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate majority leader Dean Skelos.

“Together, we share the sober responsibility of keeping New Yorkers safe from harm and ensuring justice for all of us,” Cuomo wrote. “No single tool has been more important than DNA in making certain that we discharge this responsibility fairly, swiftly and effectively … DNA has allowed us, with certainty, to convict the guilty, bring justice for victims and exonerate the innocent.”

According to the New York State Criminal Justice Department, there were 7,825 hits against the state’s data bank by April 2010. Since 2006, more than 650 people convicted of petty larceny have been linked to more than 170 sexual assaults.

Brown said an expanded DNA law could help keep criminals off the street and had pressed the state legislature to pass a law before the recent session ended.

“The law must be expanded to allow DNA samples to be taken for all convictions so that justice can truly be served to the fullest,” Brown said.

The expanded DNA law could come before the full Senate next year.

by David J. Harvey


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>