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Jury selection to begin in rape trial

September 07, 2005

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Jury selection is scheduled Monday in the case of a Virginia man charged with rape at the Mattress Outlet in 1998, according to Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson.

Nelson Eugene Ryder, 44, of 117 Highlander Road, Stephens City, Va., is scheduled for a two-day trial beginning Thursday, Sept. 29, Nelson said Tuesday. Ryder is charged with two counts each of rape and aggravated indecent assault and one count each of terroristic threats and aggravated assault in the July 6, 1998, rape of an employee at Mattress Outlet, 1502 Lincoln Way East.

Ryder was charged by Pennsylvania State Police in March 2002 after a DNA sample taken from him by authorities in Virginia matched 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. He has been in custody since the rape charges were filed.

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According to the Pennsylvania State Police affidavit of probable cause, the woman was in the store alone when a man entered at about 10 a.m. and asked about buying a mattress.

The woman became suspicious when the man asked to come to the rear of the store, according to police records. When she turned around, the man grabbed her, threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her, police said.

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