BOSTON, May 21, 2012—The use of DNA technology has identified a suspect in an eight-year-old unsolved sexual assault on the MBTA, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.
TIMOTHY L. DAY (D.O.B. 2/20/60) of Bethesda, Maryland, was arraigned this afternoon in Suffolk Superior Court on a single count of Indecent Assault and Battery for the 2004 incident. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson set Day’s bail at $1500, the amount recommended by Assistant District Attorney Tara Burdman of Conley’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.
Prosecutors say the female victim, then 23 and a resident of Boston, was travelling on a B Line subway train heading outbound on the evening of June 22, 2004, when a man boarded the train at Copley station. The train was very crowded because of a Red Sox game, Burdman said.
The victim later told MBTA Transit Police that the man, whose identity was then unknown, was pressing against her from behind. Shortly after he exited at Kenmore station, the woman noticed a wet substance on her shoulder bag, which had been at her feet, and on her pants.
The woman washed her clothes and threw away her shoulder bag. Transit Police recovered the bag from the trash, however, and submitted it to the Boston Police Crime Laboratory. The crime lab, in turn, submitted it to the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which maintains millions of DNA samples from known and unknown offenders.
In November of 2004, Conley said, the Boston Police Crime Laboratory notified Suffolk prosecutors and Transit Police of a “case-to-case hit,” linking the B Line incident with a similar 2002 case being investigated by the Metro Transit Police Department in Washington, DC.
In 2005, with no information on the assailant’s identity, Conley’s office presented evidence to the Suffolk County Grand Jury and indicted the unknown suspect as “John Doe” under his unique genetic profile. The state’s highest court in 2010 affirmed the validity of that practice in the Suffolk County case against JERRY DIXON, indicted as a DNA profile in 2006 just as the statute of limitations on a 1991 incident was about to expire.
In January 2011, the Boston Police Crime Laboratory again contacted Transit Police and the Suffolk DA’s office to inform them of a “case-to-offender hit,” linking the B Line incident to Day, whose DNA profile had been entered into the database following a federal conviction. In light of that development, Conley’s office amended the indictment to reflect the suspect’s true identity.
With the assistance of Metro Transit Police Department investigators, Day was arrested on May 15, 2012, and ordered at an extradition hearing to surrender himself to MBTA Transit Police by today.
“This was outstanding work by each and every agency involved,” Conley said. “In Massachusetts and in other states, law enforcement worked together to identify and apprehend someone we believe is a serial offender.”
Day is represented in the Suffolk case by attorney Peter Elikann. He will return to court on June 27, when prosecutors will argue in support of a confirmation DNA swab to check against the biological evidence recovered from the victim’s shoulder bag.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.