Prosecutor: DNA secures guilty plea in 2003 rape

DNA evidence helped solve a nearly decade-old rape case and secure a guilty plea, the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office reported Friday.

Curtis Ruffin, 46, of Sun Lane in Hammond, was sentenced to 15 years with the Department of Corrections on Wednesday after pleading guilty to forcible rape and simple burglary, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said in a news release.

A victim came forward in 2003 to report a rape, but could not identify the suspect, Perrilloux said. With limited physical evidence, an arrest was never made.

However, from 2003 to 2012, the victim would not give up, Assistant District Attorney Angel Monistere said.

“She and I met initially in 2006, and we worked to ensure that police did not close the case,” Monistere said in the release. “From time to time, we would get together to review all the facts, run records checks and review the reports with the Hammond Police Department to see if anything new could be gained.”

A break in the case came this year when the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab reported a DNA match linking Ruffin to the 2003 crime, Perrilloux said. Another sample was taken from Ruffin, confirming the match.

Ruffin was arrested and charged with forcible rape. Although his bond was revoked, , he was mistakenly released from jail and later caught on camera committing a car burglary in Ponchatoula, Perrilloux said.

Ruffin was arrested again and the hold on his bond reinstated.

District Judge Brenda Bedsole Ricks sentenced Ruffin to 12 years with the Department of Corrections for simple burglary and 15 years for forcible rape, with the sentences running concurrently, Perrilloux said.

Because of the sex offense, Ruffin must serve 85 percent of his 15-year sentence before becoming eligible for parole, Perrilloux said. Ruffin must register as a sex offender for life.