A man was convicted Wednesday of raping a woman at knifepoint 32 years ago a verdict made possible by DNA technology that did not exist when he was a suspect decades ago.
A jury convicted Fletcher Anderson Worrell, 58, of first-degree rape and robbery in the June 1973 attack on Kathleen Ham during an invasion of her New York apartment. Ham, 58, a lawyer who lives in California, took the stand during the trial and recalled in chilling detail the attack; she asked that her name be made public to show she is not ashamed.
Worrell faces 8 1/3 to 25 years of prison on each of the two counts when the judge sentences him Nov. 28. He was completely impassive and showed no emotion when the verdicts were read.
A juror said the verdict was reached because of the DNA evidence and the testimony of police officers who said they saw Worrell in the apartment and chased him out of the building after the attack.
Worrell's original trial in the case, in 1974, ended with a hung jury, and he was convicted a year later, also in New York, in a separate attack. He later jumped bail but was arrested last year in Georgia after he tried to buy a shotgun and authorities did a background check.
In her testimony, Ham said the ordeal that "changed everything" in her life happened while she was housesitting in the apartment. She was 26 at the time of the attack June 26 1963 when she woke up early and saw something outside the window, on the fire escape.
"I went to the window; I was confused. Then I saw there was a hand ... there was huge fight," Ham recalled. "I tried to get away, but he was very strong. He forced me onto the couch, and he took the sheet and pulled it over my head."
Afterward, Ham said the assailant rummaged through her house, telling her he was looking for money. He found four $1 bills, the only money she had in the apartment.
Authorities also want to question Worrell in connection with 21 sex attacks in Maryland and at least two more in New Jersey through 1993, AP reports.
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