On April 5, 2018, 54-year-old Roderick Williams was transferred from the Baldwin County Jail to the Mobile County Metro Jail after indictments were handed down earlier this year for rape first degree and kidnapping first degree in reference to an incident that occurred 20 years ago (1998). Williams is being held on a $200,000 bond in reference to those charges.

DNA evidence from the victim’s sexual assault kit (SAK), also known as a rape kit, matched to Williams. This is the fourth arrest by the Mobile Police Department related to cold case sexual assaults and the first arrest tied to submissions directly related to the Promise Initiative. The Promise Initiative is a joint effort by the Mobile Police Department, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office, the Rape Crisis Center, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Science to test sexual assault kits that have not been tested under today’s current DNA technology.

Williams is scheduled to appear in court on May 10, 2018 for a status hearing in which the trial date will be set by the court. The District Attorney’s Office is committed to pursuing justice for the victim of Williams. 

In 2015, the Mobile Police Department received an $828,230 grant to test its previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, through the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), awarded the grant. The award is part of a $110-million-plus national SAKI effort supporting multiple jurisdictions addressing sexual assault reform—including testing unsubmitted SAKs, investigating and prosecuting these cases, and supporting victims.

During a victim’s medical forensic examination after a sexual assault, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or other medical professional gathers DNA evidence for a sexual assault kit; this evidence may include the suspect’s blood, saliva, and/or semen taken from the victim’s body. This evidence is gathered at a hospital or local rape crisis center. The SAK is then submitted to the crime laboratory for forensic testing to possibly identify the perpetrator(s).