36-year-old rape solved by DNA after victim urges detectives to reopen case

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

A man serving a federal sentence in West Virginia for bank robbery is awaiting extradition to Florida after detectives there tied him to a 36-year-old rape case through DNA evidence.

Timothy Alan Norris, 60, is charged with sexual battery with a weapon, according to Coral Springs police officialsFederal Bureau of Prisons records show he remained at FCI Beckley in Beaver, West Virginia, on Wednesday as Florida investigators worked to transfer him to their jurisdiction to face the new charge.

The new look at the cold rape case came at the urging of the victim, according to the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. The woman, whose name was not released, is expected to testify at his trial.

Police officials said the woman awoke around 6 a.m. Aug. 22, 1983, to find an armed intruder in her bedroom. The man, described at the time as a young, slender white man, got in through a rear door.

At the time, the woman described the man as being clean-cut, having a heavy Southern accent and smelling strongly of cologne, authorities said in a news release.

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

The Sun-Sentinel, which obtained the original police report, described what happened next.

The woman, who had moved into the Ramblewood neighborhood with her husband and children just four months before the attack, awoke to find the intruder holding an 8-inch steak knife to her throat.

"I'm not going to hurt you," the man told her.

When she screamed, the man told her to shut up. Her dog was barking, and he pointed the knife at the animal and told her to quiet the dog, as well, the report said.

The woman’s husband was working at the time of the attack. Her two small daughters were in the house, as was her mother.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that the victim's mother heard her daughter's scream, but though it was one of the children having a nightmare. The police report said she checked on the children and found them to be asleep, so she went to the restroom and then went back to bed.

The intruder raped the victim at knifepoint, the newspaper reported.

"I have loved you for months," the man said when he was through. "You have very nice children and a nice husband."

He then placed a pillow over her face and left, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

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Norris' arrest warrant indicated the woman told police "she had always regretted not grabbing the knife but was too afraid the suspect would retaliate with violence if her effort failed," the newspaper reported.

"Evidence recovered from the scene was originally sent to the Broward Sheriff's Office crime lab for analysis, however, available technology was unable to identify a suspect," Coral Springs police officials said. "Additional investigative techniques also failed to identify a suspect at that time."

Broward County court records indicate that Norris lived in the area in the 1980s. In 1987, four years after his alleged victim was attacked, Norris lived in Margate, less than 6 miles from Coral Springs.

The case went cold, and the woman was left to move on with her life, without the justice she sought. In November 2018, however, she saw news reports about the arrest of Frank Montana, 60, who was tied to a 1987 Coral Springs rape case through DNA analysis.

Like the victim Norris is accused of attacking, the victim in the Montana case awoke to find a man standing over her. She was held down on her bed and violently raped, according to authorities.

Montana, who police officials said also had an arrest for sexual battery in Minneapolis, was connected to the crime through semen found on a tampon the victim in the case was wearing when she was assaulted, the Sun-Sentinel reported last year. The tampon was held in evidence storage for 31 years before the case was solved.

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

Credit: Coral Springs Police Department

Montana, who was arrested in Lousiana and charged in the long-unsolved case, is being held in the Broward County Jail awaiting trial.

The woman went to cold case detectives and asked them to take a second look at her case, the newspaper reported.

Coral Springs Police Department spokesman Tyler Reik said the woman’s rape kit, which consists of evidence taken from her body and clothing after her attack, was sitting among about 100 kits that date back 40 years. The department’s cold case investigators had been combing through the old cases, including the one that led to Montana’s arrest, but had not yet reviewed the woman’s case.

Reik told the Sun-Sentinel investigators dug through the boxes and found the evidence in her case.

Semen was found on the woman's bathing suit bottom, which she had been wearing at the time of the attack, the newspaper reportedPolice officials said the genetic material, which was sent to the Broward crime lab in March, was matched to Norris' DNA profile on June 27.

Norris has a long criminal history, including arrests for aggravated assault, assault, kidnapping and armed burglary, Coral Springs police officials said. The North Carolina robbery for which he is in federal prison took place in December 2016.

Read the statement of factual basis in Norris' 2017 conviction for robbing a credit union.

Timothy Norris Bank Robbery Doc by National Content Desk on Scribd

According to federal court documents, Norris went into State Employees Credit Union in High Point and passed a note to a teller. The note demanded money and said he had a gun.

Norris got away with $809, but the teller pressed the silent alarm after he walked out of the building. Responding officers found a woman at the scene who had unwittingly given Norris a ride to the credit union.

The woman told investigators she got suspicious when Norris walked out a minute later with a handful of cash and said she went inside to ask if the bank had just been robbed, court documents say.

“At the point she entered the bank, she knew from the look on the bank employees’ faces that ‘Tim’ had just robbed the bank,” reads a statement of facts in the case. “Bank employees also indicated to (the woman) directly that the bank had just been robbed.”

Norris fled on foot after unsuccessfully trying to get a getaway ride from other drivers in the area. An officer and his K-9 partner found him hiding in an overgrown area of kudzu behind an apartment complex.

Norris pleaded guilty in July 2017 to a single count of credit union robbery and was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

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