Police Investigate Early Morning Commercial Burglaries

The Newark Police are currently investigating two early morning commercial burglaries that occurred on October 14, 2019.  Whether the burglaries are related is still under investigation.

At 0418 hours, officers responded to a burglary alarm at Cigarette City located at 390 College Square Shopping Center.  Arriving officers observed forcible entry to the front door.  Further investigation revealed that the business had been entered and property from within had been taken.  The ATM machine located inside had been damaged, but money had not been taken from the machine.  There is no video for release at this time.

While officers were investigating the above burglary, at 0607 hours, officers were dispatched to a burglary alarm at the Rite Aid located at 399 New London Road.  Arriving officers observed forcible entry to the front door.  Property from within the business was taken and an unsuccessful attempt was made to remove the ATM machine. There is no video for release at this time.

While officers were responding to the Rite Aid burglary, an officer observed a possible suspect vehicle fleeing the scene.  When the officer was able to turn around and look for the vehicle, he located the vehicle parked on a side street unoccupied.  This vehicle had been reported stolen from the Wilmington area.  No suspects were located in the area.

There is no suspect information for release at this time.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Det. T. Gerasimov at (302) 366-7100 x. 3474 or tgerasimov@newark.de.us.  Additional methods for providing information to Newark Police can be found on our tips page, where reward information may also be available.

DNA-Based Investigation Leads to Indictment and Arrest in 1993 Sexual Assault

The Newark Police Department, and the Delaware Department of Justice, jointly announce the Grand Jury indictment and arrest of Jeffrey A. King, 54, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, for a 1993 sexual assault that occurred in Newark.

Background

The arrest stems from a nearly 2-year long investigation into a sexual assault reported to Newark Police over 26 years ago. The lead investigator in the case is Detective Taras Gerasimov.  He was assisted in the investigation by other members of the Newark Police Criminal Investigations and Evidence Detection Units. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Eric Zubrow  and Erika Flaschner of the Department of Justice. The Newark Police also received assistance from the Delaware Division of Forensic Science and Mr. Michael Kelly, who is the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (“SAKI”) Site Coordinator for the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. This is the most recent arrest that is part of a broader effort in Delaware to test previously untested sexual assault kits.

About SAKI

Through the combined assistance of the US Department of Justice Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), The Attorney General’s Office, The Criminal Justice Council, The Newark Police Department and a dedicated working group are all committed to bringing justice to victims, identifying offenders and helping to investigate and solve more cold cases. The SAKI program is a grant program designed to address the growing number of unsubmitted sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody, and to help provide resolution for victims when possible.

The Attorney General’s Office encourages those who have ever had a sexual assault kit collected and would like more information to contact the Delaware Victim Center at 1-800-VICTIM1 or the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, SAKI Coordinator, at (302) 577-8717 or cjc.delaware.gov.

All victims of Sexual Assault can receive support and information by calling the following Rape Crisis Hotlines 24/7:

  • New Castle County: YWCA SARC 1-800-773-5870
  • Kent County: Contact Lifeline Rape Crisis 1-800-262-9800
  • Sussex County: YWCA SARC 1-800-773-5870 or Contact Lifeline Rape Crisis 1-800-262-9800

Crime victims in Newark can contact Ms. Melissa Pennachi, Newark Police Victim Services Coordinator, at (302) 366-7100 x. 3137 or mpennachi@newark.de.us.

The Assault

On August 4, 1993, at about 0242 hours, 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. 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 off of the sketch and the victim was shown many photographs of possible suspects. Throughout the original investigation, Jeffrey King was never named as a possible suspect nor was a tip received about his identity.

1993 Suspect Sketch

The Case is Re-Opened

In November, 2017, Det. Gerasimov was assigned to the case for follow-up as part of the SAKI 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 to any DNA profiles of identified persons in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

The DNA Goes to Parabon

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.

Investigation into Jeffrey King

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

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

The Indictment and Arrest

On September 30, 2019, a New Castle County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging 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 in to 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.

Jeffrey King

Attorney General Kathleen Jennings commented on the case: “This is a case that will now be prosecuted in the criminal justice system. But the work done on it to this point illustrates that the process of evaluating old criminal cases and evidence kits is showing results. It illustrates that there are police and prosecutors who are working towards justice every day, even in cases that may have seemed cold. And it tells survivors that when they come forward to report a rape or sexual assault, we will do everything we can to support them and seek justice on their behalf.”

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Det. T. Gerasimov at (302) 366-7100 x. 3474 or tgerasimov@newark.de.us.  Additional methods for providing information to Newark Police can be found on our tips page, where reward information may also be available.

Media Event: Press Conference to Announce Arrest in Sexual Assault from the 1990’s

The Newark Police Department and the Delaware Department of Justice will be holding a joint press conference to announce an arrest and indictment in a sexual assault from the 1990’s.

When: Tuesday October 15, 2019 at 11:00 am

Where: Department of Justice Sixth Floor Conference Room – 820 North French Street  Wilmington, DE

Who: Attorney General Kathy Jennings & Lt. Andrew Rubin – Public Information Officer – Newark PD