DNA evidence helps solve 1996 Bladen County rape case
Posted April 7, 2015
Bladenboro, N.C. — A Lumberton man was sentenced Tuesday in a rape investigation that had gone cold for 19 years before DNA evidence solved the case.
Paul Lee Oxendine, 55, pleaded guilty in Bladen County Superior Court to felony sexual assault and attempted forcible rape. He was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison.
In March 1996, a 23-year-old woman living on Berry Lewis Road near Bladenboro awoke to a knock on her door from a stranger who asked to use the phone, authorities said. She refused, and the man forced his way inside, assaulted her and left.
Investigators released a composite sketch and collected the victim’s clothing, which contained the attacker’s DNA. The profile was entered into the state’s database, but no match was found and the case eventually went cold.
In 2012, Oxendine was convicted in Robeson County for felony breaking and entering. He was required to give a DNA sample because of the felony conviction, and his profile matched the 1996 case.
“Law enforcement officers involved in this case remained committed to seeking justice years after this horrific incident occurred,” District Attorney Jon David said in a statement. “The victim in this case was savagely attacked by a total stranger in the sanctity of her own home. For nearly 19 years, the identity of the perpetrator remained a mystery until DNA solved this case.”
David said the victim, who still lives in North Carolina, was present in court, consented to the plea, provided a victim impact statement and was pleased with the outcome.
He also commended the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation for their work in solving the case.