Justice prevailed in a rape case that happened almost 11 years ago.
According to the government’s evidence, a 16-year-old girl was walking on the 5000 block of Benning Road SE Feb. 21, 2000, about 10:30 p.m. She was on her way to a friend’s house when the defendant, then 30-year-old Lawrence Gibson, pulled up next to her in his car. Gibson asked the victim where she was going, to which she responded with, “Same place I was going before you stopped me.” The victim continued walking, and Gibson drove away.
The victim was walking down the 4900 block of Benning Road when Gibson pulled up next to her again. He grabbed the victim by the hair, held an object she believed to be a weapon to her head and forced her to get into his car. After being forced into the reclined passenger seat, the teenager tried to get out of the passenger side door but was unable to open it. Gibson then got into the vehicle, struck the victim in the face and drove to a dark area behind the 5400 block of Call Place SE.
The victim said in her testimony that she prayed for God to help her, to which Gibson replied, “God can’t help you.” The victim testified that after the car was stopped and parked, she heard what she believed to be the sound of “a blade click on a knife.” The victim begged Gibson not to rape her but he climbed on top of her in the passenger seat and proceeded to rape her. Gibson struck her in the face again after demanding she engage in another sexual act that she refused. Gibson sexually assaulted the victim one more time before throwing her out of the car and taking off.
A resident of the apartment complex found the victim disoriented and with clothing torn in front of the lot where the attack occurred.
DNA taken in a sexual assault examination at D.C. General Hospital led to her attacker 11 long years later.
Six years after the attack, the sexual assault kit was sent to a DNA laboratory for analysis. It confirmed that there was a major male DNA contributor in the sperm fraction on samples taken from the victim. Five years after that, in March 2011, Metropolitan Police got a tip that led them to investigate and eventually charge Gibson with the rape. Gibson gave a DNA sample that matched the sample from the victim and it was a match.
Lawrence Gibson, now 42-years-old, was found guilty Wednesday of one count of kidnapping and two counts of first-degree sexual assault. The trial lasted four days before the case was handed over to the jury for deliberations in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Gibson, who was convicted of an unrelated felony sex offense in 2001, could face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release. Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 29.
“This case demonstrates the power of DNA to prevent dangerous criminals from escaping justice,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen. “More than a decade after he brutally raped a teenage girl, this criminal was identified, prosecuted and found guilty of this terrible assault. His conviction today should strike fear in the hearts of other rapists who think they have gotten away with similar sexual assaults.”