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Pa. man found guilty in rape case

April 22, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

After two days of testimony and two hours of deliberations, a Washington County Circuit Court jury on Tuesday found a Pennsylvania man guilty of rape, robbery and kidnapping.

Donald Lee Walls Jr., 27, of Big Cove Tannery, Pa., was ordered held without bond pending completion of a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Judge John H. McDowell.

The trial dealt with one of four attacks on women in which Walls was charged last year.

The victim, 38, testified Monday that on Feb. 15, 1997, she left a tavern on foot after an argument with her boyfriend. She said she was abducted at gunpoint as she walked along U.S. 40 west of Hagerstown and then raped and robbed by Walls, who was alone in a van.

Forced to the floor of the van, the woman said they rode until they reached a secluded area where she said she was raped.

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Then the woman said she was driven to an ATM in Williamsport where her attacker took her bank card and withdrew $40, a transaction that was captured on camera.

"This was every woman's nightmare," said Gina Cirincion, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney.

In late April 1997, a Frederick County, Md., man told police he recognized the description of Walls' van from a newspaper story about the incident.

Walls, who insisted the episode was consensual, testified he was pressured to confess to the rape by police, who threatened to take his son away from him if he didn't.

Investigator Chris Weaver of the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Officer Carroll Braun of the Hagerstown Police Department denied that Walls' son was mentioned during the questioning.

Walls is awaiting trial on three attacks including one on Feb. 19, 1997, in which a woman was picked up in the first block of West Church Street and driven against her will to Salem Avenue, where she was raped, police said.

Another Pennsylvania man who was involved in two of four cases pleaded guilty to second-degree assault Dec. 9 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Ronald Clayton Trovinger, 26, of Big Cove Tannery, Pa., received a five-year sentence with credit for time served and the balance suspended, court records said.

Trovinger admitted his involvement in a March 21, 1997, incident in which a woman got into a van in the 300 block of North Mulberry Street.

Police allege the van was driven by Walls and that Trovinger was in the back. Once in the van, the doors were locked and the woman was fondled by Trovinger, court records said.

"Should I shoot her?" was a statement the woman attributed to Trovinger as she struggled to free herself, court records said. No weapon was displayed, court records said.

The woman jumped out of the moving van in the Jefferson Boulevard area, court records said.

Walls and Trovinger were charged in an April 5, 1997, incident in which a woman got into a passenger car containing two men in the 100 block of North Walnut Street, and was driven to McDade Road west of Hagerstown, where she said she was sodomized and assaulted by the men.

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