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DNA Evidence Leads To Arrests In 1991 Rape Case

An otherwise cold case was 'heated up' by DNA evidence last year and has another North Carolina man fighting for his freedom and facing sex crimes charges. According to the police report a woman was sexually assaulted by two men after they first forced her into an unknown vehicle and taken to an unknown location.

A 42-year-old man was arrested last December and a second was arrested in March. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police arrested 41-year-old Vernon Wylie; he has been charged with conspiracy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree rape.

There is no statute of limitation on rape in North Carolina. In 1973, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held in State v. Hardin that there is no statute of limitations on felonies in this state. That means that no matter how long ago an alleged felony occurred, the police can always come knocking and the prosecutor can pursue charges against you if enough evidence is obtained to prove the state's case.

With advances in technology, previously unreviewable DNA samples are now able to be examined by crime lab professionals. This is both good and bad news for people involved in the criminal justice system. For those who have been falsely accused and falsely convicted, new examination of old DNA evidence has meant freedom and a clearing of their name.

For those who committed crimes years ago, it has meant a revival of prior bad acts, regardless of how they have gone on to live their lives. It has resulted in adults being forced to mount a defense to accusations from 20+ years ago.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "2nd arrest made in 1991 Charlotte rape case," March 29, 2013

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