On June 1, 2005, a Lynchburg jury convicted Ricardo Antonio Crews for the rape, abduction and attempted robbery of a then 20 year old woman on October 5, 1999 in the woman’s apartment on Tunbridge Road, Lynchburg. The jury recommended that Crews, age 24, serve a combined sentence of fifty years and one month in the penitentiary. Judge Mosby G. Perrow, III, of the Lynchburg Circuit Court set Crews’ final sentencing for August 12, 2005.
The victim testified that two masked young men entered her apartment armed with a silver revolver and demanded money and drugs from her, her boyfriend, and a visiting male friend. When the three were unable to comply with the intruders’ demands, one of the men put the gun to her head, took her back to a bedroom, stuffed a sock in her mouth to stop her pleas to not touch her, and raped her.
The victim was unable to identify her attacker. A forensic nurse examiner was able to gather sperm evidence from the victim and this evidence was sent to the State Lab in Roanoke for DNA analysis. The case was inactive for two years due to a lack of suspects.
In February 2002, the State Lab was able to make a DNA “cold hit” on Crews DNA, which had just been added to the DNA databank due to an unrelated felony conviction in 2001. Investigator J. L. Hise of the Lynchburg Police Department located Crews who made incriminating statements, although he never completely confessed.
Nicole Graham, a DNA expert from the State Lab, testified that Crews’ DNA matched that of the sperm sample recovered from the victim and that the odds on randomly selecting an unrelated person with the same DNA profile would be greater than 1 in 90 million in the black population.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette introduced as evidence census data from the 2000 United States Census, showing that there were approximately 17.3 million black males in the country and 694,000 black males in Virginia. Doucette argued to the jury that in addition to the DNA evidence and Crews’ incriminating statements, Crews matched the victim’s description of her attacker as a black male in his late teens or early twenties. Crews was 19 at the time of the offense.