Early last year, an apparent positive DNA hit led Fairfax County police to charge a Fredericksburg man with the unsolved, 1991 rape and abduction of a 19-year-old Chantilly woman.
Now, police have just charged a second man — this one from West Virginia — in connection with those crimes, as well. He is Troy D. Holland, 37, of 62 Mallard Court in Charlestown.
The incident occurred Nov. 2, 1991, around 4 a.m. The teen-ager was approached by two unknown males as she walked in the parking lot of the Shenandoah Crossing Apartments in Chantilly, in the 13000 block of Blueberry Lane.
Police say the men "forced her back into her car. Once in the vehicle, the men sexually assaulted her and robbed her of an undisclosed amount of money." They then fled and, for years, no one was ever arrested — until last May.
The first man charged by police was Donald Harmon Roper, 39, of 5518 Leavells Crossing Drive in Fredericksburg. In a May 6, 2005 affidavit for a warrant to obtain a sample of Roper's DNA from his cheek cavity, police Det. Mark P. Pfeiffer presented details of the 1991 criminal case against him.
He wrote that the victim reported the attack to police after it happened. According to Pfeiffer, one of the suspects drove her car to an unknown location, and that's where they reportedly attacked her.
She later described her two assailants as black males who wore masks and gloves. Det. R. J. Cline spoke with her at Inova Fairfax Hospital where a sexual-assault exam was performed on her and a physical-evidence recovery kit (PERK) was created.
He then submitted the evidence obtained, as well as the woman's outer clothing and underwear for testing at the Division of Forensic Science Northern Laboratory in Fairfax. According to the certificate of analysis dated Dec. 16, 1991 and signed by the examiner, Karen Ambrozy, sperm were detected on the underpants, as well as in and on the victim, herself.
But nothing further happened to this evidence for more than 13 years — until Roper, a black male, was convicted of a felony in another jurisdiction. As a matter of course, everyone convicted of felony offenses in Virginia has a sample of his or her DNA taken and entered into the Virginia DNA Data Bank.
So, after Roper's unrelated felony conviction elsewhere, Pfeiffer took the PERK kit obtained from the 1991 victim to the state's Division of Forensic Sciences — just as Cline had done, more than a decade earlier. On Aug. 12, 2004, he submitted it, plus the victim's blouse, for testing.
Forensic scientist Ambrozy was still working there, and when she re-examined this evidence for human DNA, the police struck apparent paydirt. She presented her findings in a certificate of analysis dated Feb. 24, 2005.
Wrote Pfeiffer: "A DNA profile foreign to the [victim] was detected and was entered into the Virginia DNA Data Bank, resulting in a profile being found consistent with Donald Harmon Roper."
On April 18, 2005, a Fairfax County grand jury indicted Roper on five charges — one count of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy and one count of abduction with intent to defile and one count of robbery. Police Det. Joanne Studer then went to Fredericksburg and arrested him on the outstanding warrants for the 1991 crimes.
On May 21, he was released from jail on $50,000 bond. He's scheduled to have a jury trial on March 20. As for Holland, detectives developed information that led to his being considered a suspect in this case. And on Dec. 19, evidence was presented to the grand jury. He was indicted that same day for the same five offenses as Roper.
Holland was taken into custody Dec. 21 at his home in West Virginia by Jefferson County sheriff's deputies and is currently awaiting extradition to Fairfax County. If convicted, Roper and Holland could each receive 20 years to life in prison on the abduction charge and five years to life in prison for each of the other offenses.