DNA key to arrest of rape and robbery suspect

Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 12:56pm
Staff Reports

Investigators using genetic DNA evidence said Thursday that they have identified the person charged with rape and robbery against a couple performing work on Habitat for Humanity homes in July 2008.

Police named James Tremelle Hunt, 20, a convicted home burglar from earlier this year, and he is now jailed on one count of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated robbery.

SWAT officers assigned to the police department’s Special Response Team arrested him Wednesday at his sister’s apartment on Spring Branch Drive. He was hiding in the laundry room behind the washer and dryer.

The victims were plumbing contractors for Habitat for Humanity and were working on homes under construction in the area of Lauren Evelyn Way and Trailway Circle. The 42-year-old female was returning from a portable restroom on the night of July 11, 2008, when she was approached by a man armed with a semi-automatic pistol, according to reports.

Police reports show that the gunman then walked the woman to her 44-year-old fiancée, robbed him of $1,200 cash, and forced him into the back of a cargo truck next to the work site. He then grabbed the woman by the hair and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint before fleeing the area, according to police.

Following the incident and while speaking with the female victim, Sex Crimes Detective Jason Terry saw what he believed to be evidence on the victim’s clothing that could potentially yield a DNA profile.

The TBI confirmed Detective Terry’s suspicion, and entered the profile into a computerized DNA database (CODIS). With the help of the computerized system, scientists subsequently matched the DNA on the victim’s clothing to Hunt. A second DNA sample taken from Hunt last month confirmed the CODIS hit.

Hunt is being held in lieu of $110,000 bond. In addition to home burglary, he also has prior convictions for felony evading arrest, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, trespassing and carrying a prohibited weapon.