Case of Va. man charged with rape pushed back

September 01, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Virginia man accused of a 1998 rape at Mattress Outlet has been granted another continuance, Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Tuesday.

Nelson Eugene Ryder, 43, of 117 Highlander Road, Stephens City, Va., filed pretrial motions in August asking the court to suppress DNA evidence that led to his arrest, as well as the victim's identification of him at his April 2002 preliminary hearing. A pretrial hearing on the motions is scheduled for Oct. 1 and a continuance of the case to the November trial term recently was granted by Judge John R. Walker, according to Nelson.

"We may have to bring someone up from Virginia that was involved in the collection of the DNA sample" for the pretrial hearing, Nelson said.


Ryder is charged with rape under two subsections of the state law, as well as aggravated indecent assault, terroristic threats and unlawful restraint in the July 6, 1998, sexual assault on a female employee at Mattress Outlet, 1502 Lincoln Way East.

Pennsylvania State Police charged Ryder in March 2002 after a DNA sample taken by authorities in Virginia matched the DNA collected from the victim and her clothing, according to court records.

At the time of his arrest, authorities in Virginia said Ryder was on parole for a rape conviction in that state.

In an amended supplemental pretrial motion he drafted himself, Ryder wrote that his blood was drawn in 1990 while he was at the Southampton Correctional Center in Capron, Va. The motion stated he was convicted as a sex offender in that state in 1984.

Ryder stated that the 1990 blood test and another in March 2002 constituted "an unreasonable, nonconsensual extraction of his blood" that violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

The motion also stated that Pennsylvania State Police obtained the DNA information improperly from authorities in Virginia and misrepresented the source of the information as a Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab employee in the affidavit of probable cause. The motion also states police withheld information about a suspect vehicle in the case.

Ryder also is challenging the identification the victim made of him at the April 12, 2002, preliminary hearing before District Justice Larry Meminger. His motion stated the memory of the witness had faded over three years, eight months and 22 days and his appearance in court in prison garb and shackles was prejudicial.

"He's had plenty of time to study," Nelson said of the amended motions filed by Ryder, adding that the motions are without merit.

The Herald-Mail Articles