PA Man Jailed In 1993 Newark Sexual Assault Cold Case

A Coatesville man will spend 10 years in prison for a 1993 sexual assault case that was filed in Newark.

In October of 2019, then 54-year-old Jeffrey King, was charged by the Newark Police Department in the 26-year-old sexual assault case. King was charged after DNA linked the man to the case, Lt Andrew Rubin said at the time.

Rubin said the arrest stemmed from a nearly two-year-long investigation.  On August 4, 1993, at about 2:42 in the morning, a female victim, age 22, was walking on the sidewalk on Barksdale Road in the area of King William Street when she was sexually assaulted, according to Rubin. The suspect fled the scene on foot after taking personal property and clothing belonging to the victim. The victim immediately reported the attack to the police and provided a description of the suspect. The Newark Police Department worked to locate the suspect but was unsuccessful. A Detective from the Newark Police Department was assigned to the case.

The victim was transported to an area hospital, where a sexual assault examination was conducted and evidence was obtained from the victim. Witnesses were contacted and interviewed by detectives. In addition, a composite sketch was completed and disseminated to the public. The composite drawing was distributed door-to-door in area neighborhoods. The Newark Police investigated tips based on the sketch and the victim was shown many photographs of possible suspects, however, the case went cold.

In November 2017, Newark Police reopened that case. Lead investigator, Detective Taras Gerasimov was assigned to the case for follow-up as part of the Sexual Assault Kit InitiativeI grant-funded initiative. The sexual assault kit, which had not been previously tested for DNA purposes, was sent to a private laboratory to identify any DNA samples that may be present. The evidence from the kit provided a male DNA profile. This profile did not match any DNA profiles of identified persons in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

The DNA was then sent to a second private lab – Parabon Nanolabs. Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), is a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law enforcement agencies use the company’s Snapshot ™ DNA Phenotyping Service (Snapshot) to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations.

Using DNA evidence from this investigation, Snapshot produced trait predictions for the associated person of interest (POI). Individual predictions were made for the subject’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, and freckling.

The DNA profile was then referenced against known DNA samples in various databases, including a public genealogy website with DNA samples, to provide a list of possible suspects in the case. This list of suspects was then narrowed down by detectives to begin an investigation into a possible suspect.

King, who was 28-years-old at the time of this incident and had connections to Newark, was on the list of suspects provided by Parabon, said Rubin.

In August 2019, detectives conducted surveillance on the suspect and were able to collect a discarded item with his DNA. The man’s DNA profile was sent to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science for DNA comparison. The DNA profile was compared to the sample from the suspect in the 1993 incident and they were found to be consistent, according to Rubin.

On September 30, 2019, a New Castle County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Jeffrey King with two counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse in the First Degree (“USI”). USI was subsequently changed to Rape by the Delaware Legislature, but crimes must be charged under the state law in effect at the time, so USI must be used in this case.

King was initially taken into custody on October 3, 2019, without incident in Coatesville (PA) by detectives from the Newark Police Department and the Coatesville Police Department. He was briefly incarcerated in Pennsylvania while he awaited extradition to Delaware. King posted bail in Pennsylvania and then voluntarily came to Delaware and turned himself into the Newark Police Department on October 10, 2019.

King appeared before Justice of the Peace Court #2 by video and was ordered to be held in default of $50,000 cash bail. King was turned over to the custody of the Howard R Young Correctional Facility in Wilmington.

Throughout the original investigation, Jeffrey King was never named as a possible suspect nor was a tip received about his identity, said Rubin.

Last week, on Oct 14, 2022, Jeffrey King was sentenced to 10 years of incarceration, plus additional probation time, after pleading guilty to charges related to this case said Rubin.

Although the sentence cannot undo the trauma caused to the victim, the sentence imposed by the Superior Court will help bring some measure of closure to the victim in this case.

The Newark Police Department appreciates the willingness of the victim to be involved in the prosecution of the case. Thanks in part to the SAKI initiative and the work of our officers, including lead investigator Det. Taras Gerasimov, the Newark Police Department continues to work towards justice for victims, regardless of when the crime occurred added Rubin.

Court records indicate that King had been out of jail on pretrial release prior to his guilty plea.