Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ex-Cop Sentenced in Howard Beach Rape

DNA Linked Woodside Man to ‘06 Attack

A former NYPD officer has been sentenced to up to 16 years in prison for the 1996 rape of a young woman in her Howard Beach home. The defendant was caught ten years after the attack as the result of a DNA cold hit.

Ronald Murgo, Jr., 38, of 35-09 Crescent Street in Woodside, who was formerly assigned to the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn until he was fired in 1995, had pleaded guilty in January to first-degree rape. Acting Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron imposed an indeterminate sentence of between 8 and 16 years in prison.

According to the charges, Murgo entered the Howard Beach home of the 21-year-old victim through a first-floor rear window at about 3 a.m. on November 6, 1996. Murgo then jumped on the victim’s bed, tied her hands with her own bra, placed a pillow over her head and told her to be quiet before raping her. He then stole jewelry and money from the victim before fleeing out the front door.

The victim immediately called 911 and was treated at a local hospital, where detectives interviewed her and submitted a rape kit for DNA testing. Under the John Doe Indictment Project – a 2003 citywide initiative that uses DNA profiles of unidentified sex criminals to indict them before they are apprehended to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring – a grand jury indicted the defendant as John Doe in 2006.

Murgo, who now works in construction, was fired from the NYPD in 1995 after assaulting a woman in Astoria. Police in that case suspected that Murgo intended to rape the victim after he dragged her to an unlit area. He was connected to the Howard Beach rape after the victim’s DNA was matched to a DNA sample Murgo submitted following a 1998 sexualabuse and child-endangerment conviction.

“The defendant who had escaped justice for nearly a decade has now been punished for his crime,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “The use of DNA is an important law enforcement tool that proves the old adage, ‘You can run but you can’t hide.’”

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