Rape kit tested 2 decades later leads to arrest

Jacksonville police accuse Willie Miles of raping woman in 1995

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

A Jacksonville man was arrested last week accused of two counts of sexual battery in connection to an attack police said he committed nearly 22 years ago.

When a woman reported she was struck in the face, choked and sexually assaulted in May 1995 in a downtown parking garage, a rape kit containing evidence was collected, but officials said it was not submitted for processing until 2014 when the public pressure was increasing to catch up on a backlog of rape kits.

Police said the test found a DNA match to 49-year-old old Willie James Miles, who was arrested Jan. 10. He is being held in the Duval County jail on $1 million bail. 

"For a long time the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement), which is the law enforcement agency that processes these rape kits, they were greatly understaffed," News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said. "It wasn't mandated until after the year 2000 that all rape kits be processed, so in every case, you did not have the kits being processed. For example, if you didn't have any evidence that a crime had occurred, sometimes it wasn't  processed. Or, if the victim and suspect knew each other, they were boyfriend and girlfriend, that type of dispute, in those cases sometimes the kids weren't processed."

Last April, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation to help push thousands of rape kits through the testing system, and even provided funding to use private labs to catch up on the backlog.

Last month, News4Jax learned that Duval and Nassau counties had 1,400 kits still waiting to be tested. That same month, the Woman's Center of Jacksonville said that all remaining kits should be submitted to the FDLE crime lab by February. 

When he was arrested on the sexual battery charges Miles was on supervised release on a Pasco County conviction for failing to disclose the status of property sold to a pawn shop.

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