MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An 83-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in a parking garage on Chestnut Street 24 years ago; on Friday, 68-year-old Raymond Wise pleaded guilty to the crime.
Wise did not admit to the crime and told Judge Russell Clawges he was pleading guilty to second-degree sexual assault to avoid the risk of a harsher sentence at trial for first-degree sexual assault — the charge he was indicted on by a grand jury in September 2018.
“I ran into this woman in a parking garage and we had sex,” Wise said when asked if he agreed with the facts of the case laid out by Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher. “I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Wise had a stroke several years ago and said many of his memories were gone.
If the case had gone to trial, the state would prove that on July 2, 1995, officers with the Morgantown Police Department met with an 83-year-old woman, the victim, sitting on the bench outside of the parking garage on Chestnut Street, DeChristopher said.
The woman told police she was walking on Chestnut Street when a man told her there were cans in a trash bin in the parking garage, so she went into the garage and started going through the trash, DeChristopher said.
The Dominion Post does not typically name the victims of sexual crimes. DeChristopher said the victim is deceased.
While going through the trash, the victim’s attacker wrapped his arm around her throat, choked her, threw her to the ground, pulled her underwear off and penetrated her, DeChristopher said.
The woman told police the act didn’t take long and that at some point tissues were taken from her sweater. She was left lying on the ground, DeChristopher said. The victim was taken to the hospital where a sex crime kit was collected and she was admitted with heavy vaginal bleeding.
The case was investigated but unsolved and it went cold.
In 2017, DNA samples from the case sent to the State Police Forensic Lab matched with Wise, who was under investigation for sexual assault in Wisconsin, DeChristopher said. Wise’s DNA was in the West Virginia system thanks to a MPD detective who worked the case in 2005.
The MPD was also able to determine Wise had a Clarksburg address in June 1995 and was pulled over by the state police who ran his information around that time, DeChristopher said.
Wise has been in North Central Regional Jail since July 2018. He faces 10-25 years in prison and a fine of $1,000-$10,000. He will also be required to register as a sex offender and will be on extended supervision of 10-50 years after his release.
Story by William Dean, Dominion Post