Court: LC rape conviction stands

<p class="indent">A man who was convicted in state district court in 2014 of aggravated rape in a cold case and who was sentenced to life in prison, has exhausted his appeals at the state level after the state Supreme Court turned down his most recent appeal.</p><p class="indent">Jonathan Jacito Frank, 42, was convicted of raping a young woman at knife point in 1994 at her apartment on Iris Street.</p><p class="indent">After the victim reported the rape, the case went cold.</p><p class="indent">Frank pleaded guilty in 2003 to attempted aggravated rape and aggravated battery for a different incident in 1996. While in prison, officials used DNA evidence to connect Frank to the 1994 rape.</p><p class="indent">Authorities said in the 1994 case, the victim was sleeping when Frank entered her apartment, attacked her and began raping her.</p><p class="indent">She told police she tried to fight back but the defendant struck her face, eye and fractured her nose. Her hand was also cut during the attack. She said he forced her to have sex with him.</p><p class="indent">After he left her apartment, she reported the rape to police.</p><p class="indent">Frank was indicted in 2009, went to trial in May of 2014, and was sentenced later that year to life in prison without the possibility of parole.</p><p class="indent">His appeals centered around his assertion that the evidence in the case was insufficient to prove all of the elements required for aggravated rape.</p><p class="indent">In denying his appeals, judges have said the record shows that physical evidence rather than circumstantial evidence was placed before the jury.</p><p class="indent">LeAnne Suchanek, who qualified as an expert in DNA analysis, testified at trial that with a “99.9 percent degree of scientific certainty,” Frank was the source of the DNA taken from the victim at a hospital.</p><p class="indent">Suchanek testified that “the match statistic for this case was approximately 1 in 184 trillion,” and said nobody else could have been a possible match unless Frank had an identical twin.</p><p class="indent">The appeal judges have said that although there was no eyewitness identification (the victim was not able to positively identify Frank at trial), the “DNA analysis established defendant’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”</p>””<p>(Special to the American Press)</p><p></p>