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Raleigh Man Charged In 1993 Rape Case After DNA Reanalyzed

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Vincent T. Hall
RALEIGH, N.C. — New DNA analysis identified a suspect in a brutal unsolved rape and robbery that occurred in Raleigh in 1993, authorities announced Thursday.

Raleigh police on Thursday charged Vincent Hall, 31, who is already serving a life sentence for murder, in the 1993 rape case.

In March 2005, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation DNA analysts began retesting evidence from a rape that occurred on April 13, 1993, at Hidden Pond Drive in Raleigh.

In that case, then 22-year-old Cynthia Morton was returning home after going to the movies when an unknown attacker pulled a handgun on her in the parking lot. He robbed her of her purse and raped her, police said.

"It was an event in my life that I had no name to blame," Morton said. "But I've gotten more than that -- the fact that we're going to be able to prosecute this after so long is just incredible."

Raleigh police had originally submitted the case to the SBI in June 1994, but no DNA match was made at the time.

Authorities said that because of more resources at the Crime Lab and updated equipment, the SBI was able to retest the evidence this spring using new technology and obtain a DNA profile of the suspect that could be used to search the state's DNA database.

The agents ran the unknown suspect's DNA profile through North Carolina's database of convicted offenders and discovered that it matched Hall, who is currently in prison at Columbus Correctional Institute for murder and eligible for parole.

Based on DNA evidence, Raleigh police charged Hall with rape and armed robbery for the April 1993 crimes.

Hall is currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for the murder of Kier Lohbeck, an employee of Blockbuster Video who was killed outside the video rental store on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh on Jan. 25, 1994.

"The results in this case demonstrate why other police chiefs and I have strongly supported additional resources for DNA analysis," said Raleigh Police Chief Jane Perlov. "The charges announced today show clearly how valuable the results can be and illustrate the importance of the cooperative working relationship between local law enforcement and the SBI."

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday this case is a prime example of why the state needs to put even more money into DNA testing. He is asking the Legislature for more money to increase the number of people working on keeping up the DNA database.

"This is just one example of how DNA can help bring a rapist to justice, give the victim some peace of mind and protect the public," Cooper said in a statement. "I'm proud of the tremendous progress we're making with DNA technology, but I'm concerned that public safety is at risk if we don't keep pushing. More repeat offenders can be stopped with more DNA help."

"We can't just let those samples sit on the shelves because I can tell you if I was his first victim, I certainly was not his last and that is just not fair," Morton said.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that there is evidence from more than 500,000 unsolved crimes in the country that has not undergone DNA testing, including evidence in 169,000 rapes and 52,000 murders.

Testing the evidence works, according to officials. Since 1998, the national DNA database has had 4,500 hits.


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