Prosecutors: DNA evidence links UH dorm burglar to unsolved Waikiki rape

Peter Carlisle
Peter Carlisle

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former Schofield Barracks soldier, who admits to breaking into University of Hawaii dorm rooms and fondling a female student, is in more legal trouble. Prosecutors say his DNA matches a sample collected at the scene of a sex assault that happened more than a year ago.

Mark Heath was hoping to be placed on supervised release pending his sentencing in the University of Hawaii burglary and fondling case. But new allegations will likely throw a wrench into that.

"The suspect entered the adult victim's Waikiki apartment without her permission and subjected her to penile penetration against her will," Vickie Kapp, deputy prosecutor, said about the new charges.

Prosecutors say a DNA sample that Heath provided, after he pleaded guilty in the UH case, links him to that unsolved rape in Waikiki in April 2007.

"It hasn't happened with a great deal of frequency," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu prosecutor, said about such matches. "But remember, the greater you expand the databases, the more likely you are to get that type of match."

In the UH case, prosecutors say the former Army Specialist entered dorm rooms, and stole money and underwear. He also touched a female student inappropriately while armed with a pair of scissors.

"The suspect poses a danger to the community," Kapp said.

Now, an Oahu grand jury indicts Heath on new burglary and sex assault charges.

Prosecutors hope DNA technology will help crack other unsolved cases.

"There was an enormous backlog and, frankly, there are a lot of untested samples still. We know that," Carlisle said. "And that's not just a Hawaii problem. That's a nationwide problem."

Following the new indictment, a judge increased Heath's bail to $1 million.

His motion for supervised release is scheduled to be heard Wednesday.