Rapist Sentenced to Life in Prison, Prosecutors Detail Impact of 'Heinous' Crimes

Rapist Sentenced to Life in Prison, Prosecutors Detail Impact of ‘Heinous’ Crimes

Man identified through genealogy report, DNA evidence

| Published:

Marlon Alexander

Via Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office

Updated at 4 p.m.  Tuesday

A county man linked to three sexual assault cases after police tracked him from a genealogy report using DNA evidence from the crime scenes was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences in prison Tuesday.

Marlon Alexander, 40, of Germantown, pled guilty to first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense in early February.

Alexander attempted to rape a 25-year-old woman in August 2007, before raping two victims in 2010 and one in 2011, according to court documents. He was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, five counts of first-degree sex offense, attempted first-degree sex offense and four counts of first-degree burglary. Alexander was indicted by a grand jury in November.

“These offenses were targeted to vulnerable people,” Judge Robert Jordan said at the sentencing hearing.

Jordan added that “several aggravating factors,” including the nature of the crimes and circumstances of the victims, led him to go above sentencing guidelines.

Alexander will be eligible for parole halfway through his sentence, a date to be determined by court officials based on his life expectancy, Jordan said.

Defense attorney Victor Del Pino pointed toward Alexander’s drug abuse at the time of the incidents and his own sexual abuse as a child in asking for leniency for his client. Jordan accepted these factors but said neither justify his actions.

Alexander’s victim in the August 2010 rape was an 86-year-old woman at the Churchill Senior Living Center in Germantown, according to court documents. He broke into the side window of the center, wielding a pair of scissors, and forced the victim into sex acts.

“The effect and impact that these events had on these women is unspeakable,” Assistant State’s Attorney Katherine Getty said.

“In our community there are no crimes more heinous than the ones Mr. Alexander committed,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall said.

The granddaughter of the 86-year-old woman delivered a victim impact statement before the sentencing, as did the victim in the 2007 incident.

“Hopefully today is the day of restitution for all of us,” said the woman who fought off Alexander in the 2007 attack.

Police collected DNA evidence from all four incidents. After submitting the samples to biotechnology company Parabon NanoLabs, the police department received a “Snapshot Genetic Genealogy Report” in August 2018, according to court documents.

The report connected the suspect’s DNA to three distant relatives, and the police were able to trace this family history to Alexander, according to court documents. Police located Alexander in September, and an inner-cheek swab matched to the DNA evidence, leading to his arrest.

Parabon could not be reached for comment.

County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Ramon Korionoff said at a news conference following the sentencing that prosecutors will act appropriately if there is an appeal based on the use of the genealogy database. He added that opting in and signing a contract is part of the genetic testing process.

“To that extent it’s incumbent upon them,” Korionoff said.

As genetic testing platforms grow in popularity with consumers, the science has been increasingly used in criminal investigations. Most notably, serial killer and rapist Joseph James DeAngelo, known as the Golden State Killer, was arrested in August 2018 through a public genealogy database.

Advances in the field have also led to privacy concerns, as law enforcement can lean on these companies to obtain and utilize DNA data without the permission of customers.

Charlie Wright can be reached at charlie.wright@bethesdamagazine.com

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