First New York Charges Under “John Doe” Indictment


Eight years ago, a man tried to rape a woman in a New York subway station. He could not be found, and in 2001, before the statute of limitations on the crime ran out, prosecutors drew up an indictment based on a DNA profile. This month, the profile turned up a match to a man named David Martinez, prosecutors said. The New York Times reports that Martinez was arrested yesterday. Robert Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, said it was New York state’s first arrest based on a John Doe indictment that uses DNA samples to charge an unknown sexual attacker before the statute of limitations expires. The Manhattan district attorney’s office started seeking such indictments in 2000.

Morgenthau said that without mandatory DNA testing of certain criminals, “we wouldn’t have made this case. It reassures victims that we don’t give up, and their attacker may eventually be located and prosecuted.” In 1999, the Milwaukee County, Wi., prosecutor was the first to issue a warrant based on a DNA profile. Since then, it has found and prosecuted eight people, including two accused of burglary, using the procedure. Six received prison time. This week, New York City police made another arrest under the program, in a 1994 attempted rape.


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