Washington DC

Man Gets 2 Life Sentences for Sexually Assaulting Women in DC

The women were assaulted in Adams Morgan in 2007 and 2010

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A serial rapist convicted of sexually assaulting two women in D.C. was sentenced to two life terms without parole on Friday.

Ronald P. Berton Jr., 38, was found guilty in February of breaking into a woman's apartment in Adams Morgan and raping her in June 2010. Police said Berton entered her ground-level apartment in the morning while she was sleeping and restrained her before assaulting her. He stole her phone before taking off, the U.S. Attorney's Office for D.C. said.

The woman fought back during the assault, collecting the defendant’s DNA underneath her fingernails, prosecutors said.

Police had the DNA tested in 2010, and managed to get a partial DNA profile from the victim's left hand fingernails and a more complete profile from under her right hand fingernails, prosecutors said.

But it wasn't until 2017 that detectives in the Metropolitan Police Department's Cold Case Unit identified Berton as a suspect when they tied him to a similar rape case from 2007.

In the 2007 case, Berton got into a 27-year-old woman's ground-level apartment in Adams Morgan when she was asleep, according to prosecutors. He restrained her, sexually assaulted her and then stole her phone before fleeing, prosecutors said.

DNA taken from the 2007 victim tied Berton to the crime, and a jury found him guilty of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse in March 2020, the attorney's office said.

"It was a long road to justice," Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky said. "We are tremendously inspired by the survivors' strength in reporting to law enforcement and sticking with us through multiple trials."

“This sentence helps to ensure that a very dangerous sexual predator will not roam our streets,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement Friday. “This office truly appreciates the courage it took for each survivor to come forward and testify about their ordeal in a courtroom full of strangers, particularly after so many years had passed. Their strength has undoubtedly saved others from falling prey to this serial offender."

In 2014, Berton was convicted of rape in Arlington County, Virginia.

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