Murder in the Park: Rice release revives memories

 

Two-part series
This story is the second of a two-part series that debuted last week with "Cold case?" a report on the 1996 murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds

The search had been on for nearly two days, and it was almost dark when the rangers, moving down a wooded slope, glimpsed a yellow tent through the trees. The scene they saw as they stepped into a small clearing looked like the campers had been unpacking their gear and setting up camp. There was a dog leash tied around a tree, but the collar at the end was empty.

 

When they peered inside the tent it was clear that the search had ended. In the close, dark space, they saw a woman's body.

Their first thought was that it might have been a bear attack. But then, after radioing their grim discovery and moving deeper into the clearing, they saw a sleeping bag that looked as though it had been tossed headfirst down the bank of a creek. Inside was another dead woman, and her neck had been savagely slashed. No bear had dragged her, in her sleeping bag, from the tent to the creek bank. Fearful now, the rangers scanned the woods and reached for their guns.

Were they alone? Or was someone watching?

 

On summer Saturday nights, Skyland Lodge teems with hikers, campers, and day-trippers who have driven in along the Skyline Drive as it weaves north and south through the Shenandoah National Park. In the brightly lit dining room bustling with the clatter of tableware, voices, and movement, it might have been hard to believe that only half a mile away, two women had been slaughtered. Music spilled out of the bar and diners paid their bills as rangers hurried up and down a trail through the woods and the gruesome news raced upward through the chain of command.

Aftershocks from another murder were still reverberating throughout Central Virginia when the Park Service and FBI held a joint press conference to announce the killings on Monday, June 3, 1996.

Three months earlier, Harrisonburg native Alicia Showalter Reynolds had disappeared from Route 29 while driving from Baltimore to Charlottesville. Her car was found at the side of the road south of Culpeper on the evening of March 2, and when news of her disappearance broke, the Virginia State Police began hearing from motorists who remembered seeing Reynolds and a man standing by her white Mercury Tracer. A pickup truck was parked behind them on the shoulder.

The State Police suddenly got numerous calls from women who said a pickup-driving man had approached them as they made their way along 29. The man would flash his lights and gesture for the woman to pull over. If she stopped, he would tell her that something was wrong with her car– usually, that sparks were coming from underneath– and then he would offer her a ride.

The man quickly came to be known as the "Route 29 Stalker." Of the 23 women who claimed to have been targeted, the majority either didn't pull over or, if they did, rebuffed him and drove off. In addition to Reynolds, three women got in the man's truck. Two were taken to their requested destinations without incident; the third woman, in Prince William County, was attacked but survived.

As the weeks dragged by with neither a body nor a suspect, fear of the Stalker steadily rose. Then, on May 7, a man walking in a rural part of Culpeper County noticed buzzards circling above a field and went to investigate. The search for Alicia Showalter Reynolds was over. The search for her killer, however, has never ended. 

Now, less than a month later, came news of fresh horror.

 

The woman in the tent was Lollie Winans, 26, and the woman near the creek was Julie Williams, 24. They had been lovers, something their families hadn't known. At times, in the days that followed, their relationship threatened to claim more headlines than the fact that they had been brutally murdered in a national park– which, theoretically, was one of the safest places they could have been. 

Lollie was one semester shy of graduating from Unity College in Maine, while Julie had graduated the year before from Carleton College in Minnesota. Both women had summer jobs waiting tables in Vermont– where Julie had been living in a small town near Burlington since January– and they planned to share an apartment. In the meantime, they drove to Virginia to ramble through the Park with Lollie's golden retriever, Taj, in tow.

They entered the Park in Julie's car at Front Royal– Milepost 0– on Sunday, May 19, and obtained a back-country camping permit. On May 22, they got a second permit for the nights through May 26.

The last pictures found in their camera were taken at Hawksbill, the highest point in the Park, on the afternoon of Friday, May 24. In one image, Julie is seen writing in her journal while they waited out a rainstorm in the Hawksbill shelter. In another– taken by a fellow hiker– they're perched atop a rock, smiling, and Julie has her arm around Lollie. 

It was still raining at 5:20pm when a female ranger saw them in the Hawksbill Gap parking lot and offered them a ride north along Skyline Drive. Later, all the ranger could remember was that they sat in the back seat and studied a map. Around 5:30 she dropped them off near Skyland in the Stony Man Nature Trail parking lot.

They headed down what the maps identify as the Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail, but which Park regulars simply call "the bridle trail." About 500 yards down, they branched off to the left and descended the densely wooded slope to the clearing, where they pitched their tent and began setting up camp.

On Thursday, May 30, Tom and Patsy Williams of St. Cloud, Minnesota, got a troubling nighttime call from Julie's roommate: The always dependable Julie hadn't shown up to help the roommate, an old friend, clean their apartment before they moved out. The Williamses notified the Park Service early the next morning, Friday, May 31. 

Julie's car was found in a parking lot near Stony Man Overlook at 10am on Friday, and Taj was found wandering in nearby White Oak Canyon around 4pm on Saturday, June 1. The bodies were found about 8:50pm that evening.

Both sets of parents– Tom and Patsy in Minnesota, John Winans in Florida, and Laura Ford in Michigan– received word of the devastating discovery in the early hours of Sunday, June 2.

Lollie was killed in the tent, her mouth sealed and her wrists bound with duct tape, and her ankles bound with long underwear. Julie was in her sleeping bag about 75 feet away. She was also gagged and bound, but not at the ankles. Neither woman appeared to have been sexually assaulted. Their throats had been slashed with such force that they were almost decapitated. 

Tom Williams and his brother left immediately for Virginia. The next day they went to the campsite, where Tom gathered flowers and drank from the creek. Then he sat down near the spot where Julie's body had been discarded, and cried.

 

 

 

The killer– or killers– would prove just as elusive as the man who murdered Alicia Showalter Reynolds. Special Agent Tim Alley, who led the investigation for the National Park Service, says that in the months that followed, 15,000 leads were checked out– leads that led nowhere.

"It was a large and complex investigation," Alley says, "that took us up and down the East Coast."

To add to its complexity, the Park had been full of campers, hikers, and tourists over Memorial Day weekend, and leads came in not only from across the U.S., but from around the world as well.

Thirteen months went by without a break in the case, and as the summer of 1997 began, it seemed unlikely that the killer or killers would ever be found. The State Police maintained control of the Alicia Reynolds investigation, and there was no public statement suggesting they might be linked.

But on July 7, 1997 everything changed. 

 

It was midmorning as Yvonne Malbasha bicycled south along Skyline Drive. She had come to the Park from Canada with a friend, and, because he was a faster cyclist, it was their habit to bike separately during the morning and then meet for lunch. Malbasha says she wasn't paying particular attention to the vehicles that passed her; it was just normal traffic for the height of the season. 

So she didn't notice one particular vehicle, a blue Chevy S10 pickup with no license plates, that was repeatedly passing her– first on one side of the road, then on the other. Darrell David Rice was at the wheel.

Malbasha says Rice later admitted in court that he had been stalking her for about 45 minutes– and when she heard that, Malbasha realized he'd been waiting for the right moment to strike. She couldn't have handed him a better opportunity.

Around Milepost 57, she saw signs for the Lewis Mountain campground and turned off. As she got farther down the narrow access road, she realized there was a vehicle right behind her going "very slow." Rice passed her so close, she says, that she could feel the heat of his truck's exhaust, which caused her to lose her balance and come off her bike. Then he stopped and got out. 

"I thought he was coming to apologize," she says– but as he rounded the front of the truck he began "yelling obscenities," and was clearly enraged. When he was within arm's reach, she feared he was going to attack her, and she hurled her water bottle at him. Then he grabbed her and shouted, "Get in the truck!"

Malbasha, a full-time paramedic, says she knew from years of training that she had to remain calm. She also knew that if she held onto her bike, he wouldn't be able to get her in the truck. She stayed focused on that because she had heard on America's Most Wanted that if an attacker succeeds in getting a woman into his vehicle, there's a 50 percent chance she'll be killed.

They struggled, but Malbasha refused to let go of her bike. Rice finally gave up and got into the truck– but not to drive away.

Hobbled by the cleats on her bicycle shoes, Malbasha made a frantic dash to barricade herself behind a fallen tree and heard Rice gunning his engine. As she watched in terror, he drove toward the log as if he meant to ram it. Stopping just short, he backed up and came at her again. He did this four or five times before finally driving off.

Several minutes later a passing ranger found her and radioed a BOLO– "Be on the lookout"– for the man and his pickup. Reasoning that the perpetrator would head for the nearest exit, another ranger positioned himself at Swift Run Gap. Shortly thereafter he saw a tour bus heading toward the exit– and behind it, a man in a blue pickup. 

When Malbasha arrived, she identified Rice immediately. Two details, however, didn't match– details that would reveal a chilling level of premeditation: When he was stopped at the exit, Rice was wearing a different shirt, and his truck suddenly had plates. Rangers found the t-shirt Malbasha had described under the driver's seat; Rice later confessed that after attacking Malbasha, he had pulled into a picnic area to reattach the plates and change his shirt. 

Investigators also found several 15- to 18-inch cable ties, locking plastic bands used by electricians to bundle wires– and also used in law enforcement as temporary handcuffs. Rice's attorney, Lloyd Snook, argued that Rice had the cable ties for legitimate reasons.

Malbasha, however, believes Rice intended to use them to restrain her. "I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever," she testified at Rice's sentencing, "that the intent of Mr. Rice was to sexually assault me and kill me." 

Rice pleaded guilty to one count of attempted kidnapping in federal court (because national parks are federal property) and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. His conviction didn't mean that the Park Service and FBI closed their file on him, however; just the opposite. Almost as soon as he was arrested at Swift Run Gap, they began looking at him– long and hard– for much more than the attack on Yvonne Malbasha. For the next five years, they investigated Rice exhaustively. 

Finally, in 2002, they were ready to make their move. 

 

At a press conference at Justice Department headquarters on April 10, 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft announced that a federal grand jury had indicted Rice for Julie and Lollie's murders. Because the two women had been lovers, Ashcroft called the killings "hate crimes" and sought the death penalty.

While gay-rights groups applauded the decision, raising what investigators agreed was a circumstantial case to a capital crime may have ultimately derailed it. Because he faced the death penalty, Rice was able to attract a high-powered and aggressive defense team that sought, with laser-beam intensity, to acquit him. 

Deirdre Enright may be Rice's most vocal defender. Enright was appointed by the federal court to be the "mitigation expert" who, if Rice had been found guilty, would have presented the defense's case to the jury during sentencing. As Enright became more involved, however, and began to explore the thousands of pages of documents, she shifted into the role of investigator. 

Enright took possession of Rice's blue Chevy S10 pickup– the one he tried to force Malbasha into– when it was released by the Park Service; she now stores it for him at her house on St. Anne's Road in Charlottesville. Her name is on the title, along with Rice's; she says she took custody of the truck in case the defense team needed access for any reason– such as future litigation– while Rice is in prison. 

Enright believes that while investigating the murders, Park Service and FBI agents ignored evidence that didn't implicate Rice. An example of their alleged bias, she says, is the government's mischaracterization of Rice's actions when he attacked Malbasha.

Asked to explain, Enright begins by admitting that if she had been Malbasha, she would have been "terrified." But, she continues, the defense has always admitted that Rice had "mental health issues." The government mischaracterized the nature of Rice's behavior, she says, by telling Malbasha, "You narrowly escaped a killer" instead of saying, "You just had an encounter with someone who has mental health issues." 

Asked whether such a statement would have changed her feelings about Rice, Malbasha is adamant: "absolutely not," she says. She also dismisses Enright's assertion that the government tried to influence her opinion of Rice. "They were at pains to make sure there was nothing that would prejudice me," Malbasha insists. "The guy tried to kill me." 

 

Rice's mental health issues seem to center on women. Two weeks before he attacked Malbasha, he had been fired from his job at MCI Systemhouse in Maryland, where he made computer training materials, and his treatment of female coworkers may have been a contributing factor.

One female colleague said Rice had followed her closely into a parking lot and yelled at her. Another said he'd followed her as she walked to the office from a nearby mall and called her a "filthy slut."

The day after he was taken into custody for attacking Malbasha, Rice allegedly told Deputy U.S. Marshal Larry Carter (now deceased) that, in Carter's words, "he had a rage against women" and that "this rage carries over when he is out on the highway and that he likes to run women off the road," after which he would "just keep going." When Carter asked where he did this, he replied "on Route 29"– although he denied knowing who Alicia Showalter Reynolds was. 

Carter also claimed that Rice's father said his son "didn't like women and that a previous girl had broken up with him because he was mean to her." After Rice was indicted for the Park murders in 2002, however, his father told a Washington Post reporter that Rice had always had healthy relationships with women.

Rice also told FBI agents that he had once encountered a female jogger in Annapolis while riding his bike and, although unprovoked, had yelled, "Go home and eat your children's sh*t!" As for Malbasha's behavior when he was trying to force her into his truck, the agents claimed Rice said she had been "disrespectful" by throwing her water bottle at him.

In 1999, after Rice had been imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institute in Petersburg, the FBI placed an undercover agent in the jail who taped Rice admitting, according to the prosecutors, that he was sexually inadequate, made heavy use of pornography, and had engaged in only two sexual relationships with women. 

A fellow inmate allegedly told investigators that Rice was "crazy into porn" and that the magazines he got were "kinky sh*t," such as "a woman with a ball in her mouth with tape over the ball and tied down to a chair with rope and tape." 

Even among his defenders, few would argue that Darrell Rice wasn't hostile toward women. But was he also capable of murdering them?

 

In the absence of any forensic evidence– such as DNA or fingerprints– linking Rice to Julie and Lollie's murders, prosecutors argued that circumstantial evidence, coupled with information they'd allegedly gathered from Rice's fellow inmates, would prove Rice was the killer.

Government investigators claimed they interviewed numerous inmates who volunteered information on Rice, but only a handful were considered credible. One of those, Phil Robertson, claimed that Rice had confessed to the murders and gave the following account of what had happened: After coming on the campsite, Rice initiated a conversation with the women that turned volatile when he asked whether they had boyfriends. One "spoke up and said they [weren't] interested in men." 

At that point, Rice "decided he was going to rape them. He tied them up and hurt the one so that the other one would cooperate." One of the women started "hollering" at Rice, and Rice "hurt her." Robertson stated that when he asked what Rice meant, "He said he slit their throats."

The defense filed a motion in which they claimed that informants such as Robertson were offered inducements for their testimony, but the government denied the charge, saying that Robertson "never received any consideration nor acts of leniency from law enforcement nor the courts."

Another skirmish centered on a covertly taped conversation, one of the linchpins in creating the hate-crime case. The government's transcription had Rice saying, "[unintelligible] I hate gay people." The defense had the recording "super-enhanced," according to U.S. Attorney Tom Bondurant, which revealed that Rice had actually said of government prosecutors, "They were trying to get me to say I hate gay people." Rice's defense asserted that the tape had been intentionally mistranscribed, which Bondurant denied. 

Prosecutors continued to claim that Rice had been angered by the women's relationship. When asked what might have motivated the murders, Rice allegedly volunteered, "Well, as soon as you hear that they were maybe more than friends..."

The most heated debate, however, concerned the time of death. Prosecutors believe that the women were murdered shortly after they were last seen on Friday, May 24. Rice was videotaped entering the Park alone on both Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. This is significant, prosecutors argue, because murderers sometimes return to the scene of their crime.

Rice also returned to the Park on Saturday, June 1, the day the bodies were found, this time with friends Caryl and Rob Ruckert. The Ruckerts defended Rice, saying that the excursion had been their idea. Asked about their time in the Park that day, Rice told investigators, "We went hiking like right in the middle of the search party." Like many people in the Park June 1, the three were questioned by a ranger; ironically, their interview took place just as the dog Taj was found by hikers in White Oak Canyon. 

It was Rice's time in the Park the previous weekend, however, that struck investigators as suspicious. He had been videotaped entering the Park at the northernmost point, Front Royal, around 8pm on Saturday, May 25, a foggy, rainy night. The next day– Sunday, May 26– he was videotaped entering at the southernmost point, Rockfish Gap, around 5pm. Had he come, like so many others that Memorial Day weekend, simply to enjoy the Park– or to see whether the bodies had been found?

In a study sponsored by the FBI of 36 sexual murderers who had been convicted and imprisoned, 27 percent returned to the crime scene– but that also means that 73 percent didn't.

"The temptation is always to over-interpret," says William Stejskal, a clinical and forensic psychologist in Northern Virginia. Even so, Rice's movements on May 25 and 26 struck investigators as odd. 

Rice has denied that he was in the Park on Friday, May 24. He wasn't videotaped at any entrance, although investigators believe that if he did enter the Park that day, he probably would have used Thornton Gap, which is the closest entrance to both the murder site and Culpeper, where Rice sometimes stayed at his father's house. The Park's videotaping system at Thornton Gap, however, wasn't working properly on May 24.

The medical examiner put the time of death at 10pm on May 28, and Rice's defense argues that he couldn't have been the killer, because he returned to work on Tuesday, May 28. However, Mapquest puts the drive between Columbia, Maryland and Skyland at just two and a half hours. Moreover, the time determination came from measuring the levels of potassium in the women's eye fluid, a test that one of America's leading forensic pathologists believes to be unreliable.

"All the tests that I'm aware of that are done on eye fluid are questionable," says Werner Spitz, professor of pathology at Wayne State University and co-author of Spitz and Fisher's Medicolegal Investigation of Death, considered the authoritative text for forensic pathology.

Another weakness in the government case was the failure to collect insect evidence– for instance, the larvae that grow on dead bodies. Forensic entymologist Neal Haskell says it's "unbelievable" that such evidence wasn't gathered. "I was just really shocked," he says, "because we knew better 10 years earlier."

At a crime scene such as the one in the Park, where Julie's body may have been exposed to the elements for as long as a week, insects may be the only way to reliably establish time of death. In the absence of actual specimens, Haskell– who was consulted by the defense– studied videotapes of the crime scene but was unable to reach any conclusions. 

Rice's defense team argued that a number of witnesses placed the women in the Park after May 24, but that FBI and Park Service investigators dismissed their accounts. For instance, Brandi Mumbauer, who was a waitress at the restaurant at Panorama, stated she had served breakfast to two women on the 25th or 26th. The women, she claimed, matched Julie and Lollie's descriptions and were traveling with a dog. Mumbauer produced a ticket for their meals, which included meat– even though both women were committed vegetarians. Defense investigator Enright dismisses this apparent discrepancy by saying they must have ordered the meat for Taj. 

Government investigators contend that the women were murdered either on the evening of May 24 or in the early hours of May 25, and point to three main circumstances as proof. First, although Julie and Lollie had taken a steady stream of pictures throughout their time in the Park, the last were the ones taken at Hawksbill on the afternoon of May 24 (two or three frames remained on the roll, but were damaged by water). Second, neither woman wrote in her journal after that date, and while Lollie wasn't a daily writer, one investigator described Julie as "avid." 

And third, their back-country camping permit expired on the morning of May 27. Julie had appointments in Burlington on the 29th, which means that they would have had to leave the Park on May 27 to be home by the evening of the 28th, assuming they intended to make the trip in two days, as they had on the way down. 

No matter how confident the government might have been of the circumstantial evidence, however, in the fall of 2003 they realized they had a major problem. 

 

Until then, investigators had believed that the only DNA recovered from the crime scene was mitochondrial DNA on the long underwear that had been used to bind Lollie's ankles. Mitochondrial DNA can determine only the person's sex– in this case, male– but it cannot be used to develop an individual person's profile. 

In October of 2003, prosecutors learned for the first time that there was also a hair on the duct tape that had been used to bind Lollie's wrists. The hair, which had been mounted on a slide but never analyzed, had been discovered during a review of the evidence prior to Rice's trial. Only hairs that include the root– which this one didn't– possess the nuclear DNA required to pinpoint an individual. But the FBI had recently begun using a new DNA test, Y-STR, which showed that the hair could have come from 42 percent of the male population– but not from Rice.

His defense team asserted that Rice was therefore excluded as the killer. They also announced that the DNA could have come from a man who, even in death, could still elicit horror: Richard Marc Evonitz.

In September 1996, 16-year-old Sofia Silva was kidnapped and murdered in Spotsylvania, 10 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. Eight months later, also in Spotsylvania, 13-year-old Kati Lisk and her sister Kristin, 15, were kidnapped and killed. The cases remained unsolved until June 2002, when a 15-year-old girl Evonitz had kidnapped in South Carolina escaped and called the police. Two days later, during a high-speed chase in Florida, he shot and killed himself. Authorities said all three victims had been raped, and the DNA belonged to Evonitz.

Prosecutors in the Park murders reject Evonitz as a possible suspect because his preference for young girls was so pronounced, and they also point out that a dead man is an easy target for suspicion.

As for DNA evidence that Rice's defense insists excludes him as a suspect, the chair of the department of forensic science at George Washington University, Moses Schanfield, cautions against reading too much into a single hair on a piece of duct tape.

"It doesn't mean he didn't kill them," says Schanfield. Prosecutors argue that the hair could have come from a variety of sources, including an investigator at the crime scene. 

Because they were faced with a death-penalty case, however, prosecutors concluded that the DNA evidence might prove to be insurmountable, and in April 2004, they withdrew the indictments. Even so, Rice's legal battles weren't over– any more than Central Virginia's memories of the Route 29 Stalker were gone. 

Although Rice had been under scrutiny for those crimes since 1997, he wasn't charged in the Prince William County case until federal prosecutors dropped the Park case against him.

Carmelita Shomo was the only woman besides Alicia Showalter Reynolds who not only got in the Stalker's truck, but was attacked. Shomo, however, survived her 1996 abduction, and she identified Rice as her attacker. In his 2005 trial, Rice agreed to take a so-called Alford plea– in which the defendant claims innocence but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict him– in exchange for not having any time added to the sentence he was already serving.

It's impossible to say whether other suspects have been considered in the three murders, since investigators don't typically name suspects. One private investigator, however, believes that a former Charlottesville porn shop owner, Michael Nicholaou– who killed himself along with his wife and her daughter late in 2005– should be linked to several Central Virginia crimes, including a brutal 1984 rape on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Evidence to implicate him in the Parkway rape is currently under study by Nelson County investigators.

As for Rice, he will be released on July 17. According to Enright, he plans to move to Maryland, where his mother lives in Stevensville, a small town on an island in the Chesapeake Bay. As part of Rice's three years of supervised release, he will be required to get a job, report to his probation officer within the first five days of each month, refrain from excessive use of alcohol, and meet 10 other standard conditions. Presumably, he will also be reunited with his truck. 

 

The families of the victims remain solid in their support for government investigators. "They are on top of it," John Winans says– even though, nowadays, it doesn't seem there's much to be on top of.

 "The real tragedy of Julie and Lollie is in my mind constantly," he adds. "You never have closure." As for Rice and the indictments that may never be reinstated, Tom Williams says, "I'll let time resolve the issue regarding Mr. Rice. I respect the system." 

One condition of Rice's release sounds almost biblical: "The defendant shall not commit another federal, state, or local crime." It remains to be seen, beginning July 17, whether that's a commandment Darrell Rice will obey. 

[Correction: The map sidebar in our print edition said that Malbasha was attacked the year before the killings. Actually, she was attacked 13 months after the killings, a correction that has been made above in this online edition of the story.]

Read more on: Darrell Rice

57 comments

Why is there no mention in this story about Shomo originally positively identifying a "Virginia state trooper" as her attacker in a photo lineup?

Once she was told she had picked out a law enforcement officer as her attacker, the tale somehow changed to she only meant her attacker looked like the trooper. Yeah, uh huh! Sure!

It's been proven time after time that positive identifications.... aren't 50% of the time. They shouldn't even be admissible in court.

Hi Barbara, thank you so much to writing about Lollie and Julie. I went to that same college with Lollie (Sterling College in Vermont) and have been running my marathons in Vermont each year since 2005 in she and Julie's memory at the Vermont City Marathon. I am very interested in talking with you more about this case and about how to get this information into the national attention. I am also very interested in recieving a copy of the May 24, 2007 issue 0621 of the HooK.

On October 27th, I will be returning Vermont to run an ultra-marathon race (32 miles) to benefit the Winans-Williams Environmental Leadership Scholarship at Sterling College -- which I have working on establishing for about a year. Afterwards, there will be a community forum to address issues of homophobia, violence against women, hate crimes and gender/diversity in the environmental field. I would love for you to come to the running and community event. Please contact me at my email.

Again thank you so much for the wonderful issue.

Sincerely, Ted Hobart

I hope you will understand why I cannot give my name or e-mail address. I am one of at least 15-20 other women who could testify against Darrell Rice if he is ever chaged with any the other horrendous things he has done. I want to say to his mother, his sister, his father and that woman on his defense team who kept his truck for him while he was in prison: please do not let him out of your sight. Please know where he is at all times. Do not let him leave the state of Maryland. If anyone ever needed an electronic ankle bracelet to make sure we know his wherabouts, this man does. I can't believe he only got three years parole. I pray that he is tried and convicted SOON on the crimes he has already committed. Otherwise, you can be sure that more women will suffer and die.

Darrell Rice has been released to the custody of his sister? and/or mother on Kent Island Md. He is within a mile of our High school, biking and running trails. Although he is reportedly wearing a GPS tracking device he is supposedly seeking employment AND possibly has been seen out in a Kent Island Well and Septic van. We are a quiet community with little crime. This is far more than we know what to do with. Although I hope he moves I can't imagine any community wants this man any where nearby. I understand our judicial system but this is ridiculous. I haven't read anything that would make me see a redeeming quality.

I know it would be easy to panic with all of this alarm, but believe me you are in much better shape knowing that he's nearby than I was in 1997 when I first encountered him. I knew there were bad people in the world, but I had no idea of the level of hatred that some men have for women and especially for lesbians or for any woman who talks back to them or will not immediately act afraid and do as they're told. Teach your young people never to get in anyone's vehicle and to yell their heads off if anyone comes near them - make noise however they can. If anyone gets in their vehicle and tries to make them drive somewhere, they should crash the car as safely as possible in order to attract attention and get other motorists to call and report the accident. Give them pepper spray and stun guns to carry - both small enough to fit in a purse or pocket. That way they will have a chance of getting away. Teach them also to kick or hit with a rolled-up magazine in the crotch area, go for the eyes with keys or other sharp object. Just an ordinary comb, raked under his nose, would be painful and surprise him enough to allow you to run or take some other measure. I do not advocate carrying a loaded weapon because so many things can go wrong with that scenario, especially for a young person who may be unsure of themselves (and they couldn't and shouldn't take it back and forth to school anyway). Get your schools to allow the kids to bring pepper spray and stun guns with them. So far he doesn't seem to be a pedophile - he likes young, slightly-built women he can easily overwhelm. But who knows what all he learned in prison and we know he does like to "practice" different techniaues of hurting people.

There are many people working behind the scenes to get more evidence on him and to make the evidence that we now have hold up in court. Don't panic - we are all working together. I know his family loves him, as we all love our sons and brothers, but if they are caring human beings they will also tip off law enforcement if he goes missing and they don't know where he is for hours or days. Those of us who are putting our lives on the line to bear witness need to know if he is on the road. It is good to keep him in a a small place, where it will be noticed if he disappears for days at a time. What I am most afraid of is that he will get just enough freedom and decide to try the system or dare the law and they will start finding bodies again.

was Alicia any relation to the Showalter family in Maryland?

I hope possible witness is correct and the wheels are in motion, working on the old cases. From what we gather, that is not the case.The defense attorneys and Dawn Metcalfe refuses to answer when questioned about DDR being at Brownies/Bay Front Park sitting in the WOODED parking lot earlier this summer. It is a heavily wooded area, the parking lot is in the woods, there is a long trail going through the woods there to the secluded beach. It is only about 1/4 mile from where he use to live in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. There are lots of women that walk that beach and trail alone on a daily basis.

AMO - you can bet I'm not giving Dawn any info, nor am I posting any further on the Forum. It's good if they think there are no cases pending. Maybe he'll slip up.

Hang in there. You get pretty wild sometimes, but nobody deserves the abuse you've been subjected to. I can't believe people thought we were the same person. Glad Rich cleared that up.

It's been weird since Sept., you know? At first I was encouraged, as if we would all be safer if we could stick together. I appreciate knowing that the Kent Island Forum has always been like that. Wow.

Thanks PW! For your sake I am glad they cleared that up as well. Yes, wild is a word that suits me ;) I heard nameless has registered on the KI and Dawn got her Master's Degree in May from VIAL ANONOMOUS UNIVERSITY. hysterical! Pretty sure she has been posting as 3 different people on another thread on The Hook, seems quite obvious. ( God Bless The Hook and it's staff) I have recently read where DDR's hair was actually red and turning gray and they have his height from 5'7-5'10 but his old license says 6'1". Of course you can lie on your license and say anything as they do not measure you.From the latest picture on "his" site it does appear he was the one spotted working at the Metcalfe property and walking/jogging on the roads near his house. Another resident says he jogged/walked past her house, I saw a man in that area too which is odd, usually just lots of women jogging there daily. She was cleaver enough to say he was not "stalking" anyone in Calvert County, nice way to try to imply he was not there. Safety in numbers.

time flys, less than 3 weeks

Hearing set for Jan. 18 with Judge Norman Moon in Charlottsville, Virginia for the purpose of EXTENDING the duration of the gps monitor. It is set to come off in 18 days. Might be a good idea to contact Judge Moon ASAP, before the hearing, before it comes off in 18 days, to let him know that Kent Island residents would like for him to EXTEND it.

The hearing on Jan. 18 is not only for GPS duration but also to prevent Darrell Rice from viewing pornography or going anywhere that pornography is electronically accessible.

Let's hope the judge will also have in mind the latest crazy man who stalked hikers and decide to keep some tabs on your neighbor. All I've ever wanted is for someone to always know where he is while he's out. Fingers crossed.

I notice no one has mentioned that Russell and Dawn have a large property bordering Swallow Falla State Park and Harrington Mannor State Park in Garrett County. Thay spend a great deal of time there. Dawn has a daughter in Clinton, could it be she doesn't want her around her brother? Anyway, with them having a home IN the park I'm worried about Darrells GPS comming off and him in the "candy factory".

Sorry, that is Swallow Falls State Park.

Let's face it - if he gets loose and nobody knows where he is, there's no telling. I feel for Dawn, who naturally wants to believe in her brother, but none of us know the real story behind her posturing on here and on the Kent Island Forum. If I could afford to, I would call and talk to her just to give her some moral support, but I can't risk getting any closer to this than I already have.

Let's hope Judge Moon can calm things down this time next week.

Let's face it - if he gets loose and nobody knows where he is, there's no telling. I feel for Dawn, who naturally wants to believe in her brother, but none of us know the real story behind her posturing on here and on the Kent Island Forum. If I could afford to, I would call and talk to her just to give her some moral support, but I can't risk getting any closer to this than I already have.

Let's hope Judge Moon can calm things down this time next week.

Having Darrell on Kent Island is like putting a hungry diabetic ethiopian in a candy store and expecting him not to eat anything. Calvert County Maryland, just 20 miles south of Annapolis, where Darrell and his family use to live before he went to the Federal Pen is not a good place for him to be either. There are hundreds of acres of woods and trails and beaches in both places. More than one person has claimed to see him sitting in the parking lot in the woods at a beach with a long trail through the woods, just down the street from his old home. If I was Dawn I would not want to chance having him around my sons either. I think Metcalfe's business is out of Clinton and it looks like they have lived there and few other places in southern Maryland. Is the daughter from Metcalfe or from a previous relationship? Wonder what is up with that.

Dawn's personal life should be her own. Let's face it - there are no guarantees. Perhaps I have been putting too much hope in the family, thinking they would want to keep him safe, even if they can't come to terms with the danger he may pose to others. At this point, for the near future, it will be up to the court. I am still hopeful that the Feds are working behind the scenes and will have a iron-clad case built before the monitor is due to come off again. They will of course not share any details of that until they are ready.

I think the seventeen year old daughter is from a past relationship. If Dawns personal life should be her own, P.O., then her brother should be of none of you're concern.

I think it is quite telling to have a teenage daughter that does not live with her mother. Maybe Dawn has more sense than it appears or maybe the father of the daughter does. Either way, it is not a good idea for a teenage girl to live in the same house with a convicted felon.

Worried - you can't be serious. How is her brother's past attacks on women part of Dawn's personal life, and why is it not my concern? You may both be right about the teenage daughter - I was only saying that I didn't feel comfortable bringing another member of Dawn's family into this. We really don't know the story there, or at least I don't. I DO know the story with Mr. Rice himself, and believe me, it does concern me. What I meant in saying Dawn's personal life should be her own, is that the fact that she even has a teenage daughter should not necessarily be made public, unless she puts it on her own web site. Her brother gave up his right to privacy when he broke the law, but as far as I know, his sister still has a right to parent her children without people speculating or second-guessing her. I think Dawn even said at one point that she felt like she had to send her child off Kent Island to spare them the neighbors' wrath. Maybe that's the reason the kid is living elsewhere, if she is. It's none of my business - I'm only concerned with where Mr. Rice is. I don't think he's a pedophile or that he would hurt his own niece. I have good reasons for believing this, and it doesn't mean I want him on the streets without supervision. He could be perfectly harmless to his own family (and attorneys and their families) and still be a danger to the kinds of women who bring up his insecurities. Those strong, confident women, as we know, hang out on hiking trails and travel by themselves.

HOORAY FOR ONE MORE YEAR OF GPS TRACKING! not that it is a guarantee for our safety but it is better than no GPS.

Thanks for the update AMO. I'll sleep well this year!

Ditto. God bless Judge Moon and all you folks who got through to him. I feel very glad that I spoke up back in Sept.

You say when Rice broke the law his life became public business, when his sister took him in and placed him in our world she opened her life to the public

I don't understand how he can have so many violations and not go back to jail. Going outside to smoke for 4 minutes is not that bad if you don't live within 4 minutes of him. However for him to go run errands and not take his GPS with him and for him to decide to add on another "errand" while he is out, without permission or knowledge and knowing he is without his GPS is blatant disregard for the law. If part of the parole was he was not to look at pornography yet he admitted to looking at pornography on his mothers laptop less than a week after he got out.......what does he have to do, attack someone else? Just what are the rules for parole violations and just where was he the time he went driving around without his GPS and without permission?

I don't have any answers - perhaps they're trying to give him enough rope - I do think they're watching him even if he thinks they're not. If he likes feeling that he's getting by with something - it may backfire. I am just feeling a sense of relief, even if it's only for a short time.

I am glad you are relieved, I am too to a certain extent. I hope that relief is more than enough comfort and is verification that you did the right thing in speaking up. You took some hits from quite a few people online and I am glad you stuck to your guns and kept with it. Most of them would probably want to thank you too, they just won't admit it.The world owes you big time. If it had not been for you, no one in Maryland would have known about the hearing. No one even knew the actual date the GPS was to come off. Quite a bit of information was learned at the hearing, and that is the only way that was going to happen. Thanks again for helping PW

How many violations has DDR had in the past year that we do not know about? Several violations were brought up at his hearing and yet nothing was done about it. Ankle monitor comes off in Jan.

Don't assume that nothing is being done, just because it is kept out of the news.

I hope you are right PW. I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas.

I still want to know why an alleged victim of Rice's identified a Virginia State trooper as her attacker. And why the victim changed her tune later once told she had picked out a Virginia State trooper.

See story below........

The victim in a 1996 abduction linked by police to the "Route 29 Stalker" who frightened the region's female motorists a decade ago said Tuesday she is "100 percent" certain her attacker was Darrell D. Rice, even though she once identified another man in a photo lineup.

Asked Tuesday by prosecutors to identify her attacker in court, she pointed to Rice and said, "That's the guy. I'm 100 percent" sure.

But defense attorneys pointed to numerous inconsistencies in Shomo's descriptions of events. Shortly after her attack, police showed Shomo a photo lineup and she incorrectly identified a photo of a Virginia State Police trooper as her attacker. Shomo said in court Tuesday that she meant only to say that the trooper's photo most closely resembled her attacker.

Are you trying to say he was not guilty? Why would he confess to something he did not do? Surely he is expressing no remorse or regret, nor has he been rehabilitated. The testing he has failed since his release and the numerous comments made by his family prove that there is no rehabilitation, no regret and no remorse. Rice looked totally different when in the lineup versus when he did the crimes. He had a full head of hair then and since had gone almost bald. His sister with her full head of hair looks more like him 10 yrs ago then he does now. You can see his sister on the street and she looks just like him then. He of course looks totally different after being in Federal Prison for 10 yrs and bald.

GPSoff55days, I am actually saying several things in the same breath.

First, it proves eyewitness identification is so unreliable that it shouldn't even be admissibe in court. And there are a lot of judges who place very little faith in eyewitness identification. A well renowned expert in eyewtiness identificaion, Elizabeth Loftus, claims it is unreliable in 50% of all cases. That is not an acceptable average when you're dealing with a person's freedom. Shomo was ready to send a real sworn Virginia State trooper to jail when he did nothing more than agree to be a face in a lineup. It backfired when the state trooper was picked out as the assailant.

Secondly, who coached Shomo to change her thoughts on her misidentification of the person who attacked her? I don't for one second believe her identification went from "this is the guy" to "this is the guy that the suspect most looked like". After she identified the state trooper, a person that couldn't have possibly committed the crime (we hope), I think she was coached to change her story as to exactly what she had said.

Sad to say, but many innocent people offer pleas of guilty. It's either go to trial facing a maximum sentence, or accept a plea bargain for something much less. True story - Once upon a time a cop walked up and pushed a man in the back. The man did not know it was a cop, turned around, and smacked the heck out of the cop. The man was forced into a plea agreement.... either accept a slap on the hand or go to trial and face the maximum sentence if convicted. If convicted, the man would have lost his job of 35 years, his benefits, his retirtement, and everything else he had worked his entire life for. And all of this was after 5 or 6 cops piled on the man and dished out their "street justice" first, the man was beat so severely he was taken away to the hospital unconscious. Another interesting fact, had this case gone to trial, it would have been introduced into evidence that the off-duty cops, with firearms, were sitting in a restaurant consuming alcoholic beverages. I suspect the agency did not want this exposed, hence the plea agreement offer they proposed.

So, trust me - innocent people often accept plea agreements. And they have valid reasons for doing so.

Was Shomo the victim that identified the clothing DDR was wearing? The clothing that he had on during the crime but he changed his shirt and put it under the seat of the vehicle so as not to be identified. That was a planned crime, not something he just did spur of the moment.

GPSoff55days, I think so, but I don't recall without going back and reading the long history of attacks everywhere. It got very confusing when law enforcement took many unsolved crimes and tried to link them all to Rice.

But, let me say this as well - after Shomo picked out a real live breathing Virginia state trooper as the person who attacked her, I don't place much faith in anything else she said. Or anything else she was coached into saying.

It's not very hard for a law enforcement officer to trick a victim into saying exactly what law enforcement wants the victim to say. I have also personally witnessed a law enforcement officer coach a "witness" as to what he wanted them to say. In other words, this cop created a witness, told this witness what to say, and asked this witness to put it in writing. The judge knew darn well it was all fabricated when the witness put it into writing 6 months after an event took place. Stuff like this ruins the credibility of the decent honest hard working cops.

Go back and read where he was stopped immediately after the crime. He changed his shirt as to not get caught. The victim reported what he was wearing, the shirt he took off and stuffed under the seat in an attempt to not get caught. Yes there are law officials out there that are corrupt but that does not lessen the severity of this particular crime or the other similar crime that DDR was convicted of.

The focus on discrediting witnesses is problematic for those of us who know who he is without question but would not want to be put under that kind of scrutiny, which makes the witness the one on trial, not the accused criminal. Rice's lawyers are brilliant at that, using anything they can find to take the focus off him. That's why some of us resort to other ways of keeping him exposed, if he's going to be on the streets. It's the only way of trying to make him aware that people are watching and he's much more likely to get caught now.

Because of ANOTHER violation, Darrell David Rice was ordered to keep wearing his GPS, it will not be coming off next month as expected. Praise the Lord.

Rambo, have you seen the pictures of Rice back when he committed the crimes compared to the pictures of him years later when he was in jail and indicted for other crimes committed years before? There is quite a difference. Several years in prison made quite a change in his appearance. They caught him trying to leave the park minutes after the one crime. The victim described the shirt he had on but of course he had changed it and stuffed it under the seat. He had also removed his truck tags as to avoid detection. Rice admitted that. Confession is good for the soul.

Let's all hope that his GPS is an active monitor, not a passive one. Did you read the story out of Washington State this a.m., about a Class Three Sex Offender who while wearing an ankle monitor still managed to beat & stab a 13-year-old girl to death after he unsuccessfully tried to rape her? The only good the GPS did was to verify, after the fact, that he was there when the crime was committed.

i went to high school with darrell. he did loads of LSD and cocaine, and anything he could get his hands on. also HE LIKED TO HELP WOMEN WHO HAD BEEN STOPPED ON THE ROAD!!! god i used to think he was sooo nice to help women who were stuck on the roadsides. also, we made many trips to shenandoah together. he liked camping there.

From Easton, MD Star Democrat:

U.S. marshals arrest Kent Island man
By STEVE NERY News Editor
Published: Monday, March 23, 2009 4:33 AM CDT
STEVENSVILLE Darrell David Rice, a convicted attempted kidnapper who moved to Stevensville in 2007 after serving 10 years in a federal prison, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Marshals on a violation of probation charge.

Rice, 41, was convicted in 1997 for the attempted kidnapping of a woman at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. He moved in with relatives in Stevensville in July 2007, and was monitored by federal agents by an ankle bracelet and GPS tracking device.

YES! Back in court tomorrow - and again soon, let's hope. Pray that evidence comes together this time.

Anybody know what happened in court? Can't find any articles about it.

Judge remanded him into custody until April 7, when he will be tried for the parole violations. Let's hope he'll get at least a couple of years added to the original sentence, and have to serve the rest of it on the inside as well. I'll be sleeping better, for sure . . .

That's the best news I've heard in a long time.

I hope Judge Moon throws the book at him. Hooray! I still cannot find the website with the court information on it.

I read where he had another porn violation and 2 marijuana violations.

Well, nine months is nine months. I hope they give him some counseling in what parole requires and also check out his trail through Virginia and Maryland, to make sure he didn't do more than drugs & porn while he was out.

Nine months is better than nothing. Two years would have been good. I could have lost my cookies when I read where he implicated the community was more at ease with him being here. He mentions one neighbor with children who had a problem with him until he met her. Did he ever think that maybe she is in fear and pretends to like him, "oh if I am nice to him maybe he won't attack me or my kids". Believe me when I say I know more of Darrell's neighbors than he does and many more of them went out and purchased firearms to protect themselves. There is no welcome wagon for DDR.
His mother said his job in Frederick is close to Kent Island, it is not. That is more than 100 miles of roadway he has to terrorize and hunt for unsuspecting women.He should not be allowed to have a driver's license. He had lots of charges from the court system, many of them drug related and they were expunged from his record.
As far as him smoking pot and looking at porn, maybe a normal person would not be influenced to be violent but certainly someone with his mental illness and hatred for women, it would be a different story.

I just recently read the transcripts from the Shomo trial, and a great deal of evidence was deemed inadmissable. Even at that, his lawyers convinced him to plead it out.

Yes, I know the distances he has been allowed to travel. It kept me up at night, not out of fear for myself, but for other women who might come across his path. We will know, in time, before he is released again, I hope, whether he did far worse than drugs and porn. While I do feel relief that he is behind bars again, I also dread knowing whether anything happened during those first two months, before anyone knew where he was, and more recently, starting last fall, when his whereabouts were dubious again and again but it took until March to arrest him.

Mapquest says Stevensville is 77 miles from Frederick, so I stand corrected. He has over 150 miles per day to drive and harrass women and look for unsuspecting females broken down on the side of the road.
The fact that he has nephews and a neice, but his sister's daughter is not living in the home with them says alot.

Disillusionment is painful but necessary, and watching this movie will help you break the spell, especially if you're an Obamanoid or an Obamabot who is under Obama's hand-motion induced hypnosis. WATCH THE DAMN MOVIE, IDIOTS!!!!

Not sure where the above rant came from, but there will always be someone wanting to distract & detract from any serious discussion of how to protect ourselves from DDR. I still don't believe he is a danger to his sister's kids or to children in general, only to women. There hasn't been anything in his file, that I know of, to indicate pedophilia. And he seems capable of loving relationships with those who love him. It's random strangers I worry about - his need to have power over women - getting off on their vulnerability or helplessness in the face of his anger. So good to know that's not a possibility this morning.