Friday, March 26–Life Sentence Issued For Rape Dating To 1991

SNOW HILL – A New York man convicted on first-degree rape and burglary charges stemming from an attack on a Worcester County woman nearly two decades earlier was sentenced this week in Circuit Court to life in prison plus 20 years.

On Jan. 5, Circuit Court Judge Daniel M. Long found Leslie Maize, 69, of Gowanda, N.Y., guilty of first- and second-degree rape, assault with intent to rape and first-degree burglary, but his fate was left undetermined pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation. Back in Worcester County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Maize was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree rape conviction and an additional 20 years for the first-degree burglary charge, which will be served concurrently.

The case had been cold for 19 years before DNA evidence connected Maize to the crime. On May 10, 1991, police officers responded to a residence in Pocomoke to assist a woman who had been sexually assaulted. The investigation revealed the victim was asleep and awoke by an unknown male standing over her. The assailant cut the victim’s face and held a knife against her during the attack. She was taken to the hospital where evidence was collected, but no suspect was ever identified at the time.

The case remained unsolved for 19 years before Worcester County Sheriff’s Office detectives submitted cold case forensic evidence to the biological unit of the Maryland State Police Crime Lab. Last June, the crime lab contacted the local detectives and advised that a thorough search of a national database identified DNA collected from the victim during the 1991 attack as Maize.

Maize was located in prison in New York where he was serving a sentence for a 2005 conviction in that state from a rape case dating back to 1993. In that case, New York officials also utilized DNA evidence to connect Maize to the 12-year-old cold case. Maize is scheduled to get out of prison in New York in 2014.

At the time of the conviction in January, Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd praised local law enforcement for taking up the nearly 20-year-old investigation anew.

“Thanks to the dedication of our deputies in reviewing old cases, and the expertise of the State Police crime lab, a violent predator is off the streets and in prison where he belongs,” he said.

This week, Todd said he was pleased with the outcome. “It’s people like this who need to stay off the streets permanently,” he said. “We are glad justice was done.”