15-Year Sentence in 1998 Rape Case

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A Staten Island man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping and robbing a 28-year-old woman as she walked to her home on Orchard Street in 1998.

On Oct. 9, Lerio Guerrero, 33, pleaded guilty to rape, sodomy, burglary, robbery, and attempted robbery, all in the first degree, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Mr. Vance credits the “All Crimes DNA” law and DNA databank expansion for helping to solve the crime. “Without the state’s DNA databank, this defendant might never have been apprehended,” he said in a press release. “But because New Yorkers live in a state that recognizes the power of DNA to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent, this crime victim is able to finally see justice be served nearly 14 years later.”

In November 1998, Mr. Guerrero followed the woman to her apartment building. While holding a piece of glass to her throat he cut his own hand and bled on her coat. After forcing her to the rear of her apartment building, where he sexually assaulted her, he forced her to an ATM. Before he could take her to a second cash machine, she escaped into a deli.

DNA from the attack was recovered at the scene and entered into a database. In June, The Times reported, Mr. Guerrero left his DNA on a cigarette during an interrogation regarding another sexual assault. The city medical examiner’s office was able to tie it to the 1998 assault.