NEW ORLEANS – Today, District Attorney Jason Williams, joined by the New Orleans City Council Vice President Helena Moreno, Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Chief Mary Glass, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Naomi Jones, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Detectives, and DNA Experts announced the guilty as charged conviction secured in a multi-count serial rape case. Led by SAKI Chief Mary Glass and ADA Naomi Jones, defendant Jamol Rickmon was convicted of 3 counts of Aggravated Rape stemming from cold cases in 1996 and 1997.
District Attorney Jason Williams said, “To secure justice for these survivors, this case required coordination and partnership across various sectors of the Criminal Legal System. I am grateful for the hard work of our SAKI Team. In order to secure this conviction across the multi-day trial, they pulled together 22 witnesses to testify including 6 NOPD Officers who laid a beautiful foundation. These officers collected evidence that could not be analyzed then, but was perfectly preserved, ready when science and technology caught up.
“Thank you to Sergeant Corey Lymous, Detective Richard Chambers, Detective Kurt Coulon Sr., Detective Decynda Chambers, Detective Chris Billiot, Retired Detective Allen Gressett, and Retired Detective Dennis Dejean. Additionally, we are thankful for the DNA experts which included Louisiana State Police Crime Lab Analyst Julia Naylor and DNA Expert Consultant Anne Montgomery as well as the medical experts which included University Medical Center Nurse Heidi Martin and Dr. Larry Couvillon. I would also like to express appreciation for my Victim/Witness Chief Alison Morgado & SAKI Unit Manager Ariel White who worked diligently with the survivors in this case, as well as Investigator David Benelli and Trial Assistant Rachael Borges for their hard work.
“Together and with meticulous detail, this team brought forth a strong case against the defendant, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was guilty of the crimes against these women. Building on the success of this case and the hard work of this team, my office is applying for new grant funds from the Bureau of Justice Administration to continue solving cases like this. This grant will fund the review of cold case sexual assault, CODIS hits, and the backlog of kits submitted to DNA testing. Additionally, my office is requesting funds for the perpetuation of witness and survivor testimony. Unfortunately, in this case, one of the survivors passed away before trial, and we recognize that having her words captured before her death would have been incredibly impactful.”
New Orleans City Council Vice President Helena Moreno said, “First would like to thank District Attorney Williams and all the prosecutors who worked diligently on this case. The conviction of this serial rapist demonstrates that justice may be delayed, but it shall not be denied. It also reminds us that victims of sexual assault must be prioritized and that together we must keep pushing forward with advancements in DNA technology – like the Rapid DNA tech we’ve recently won for Orleans parish – to solve cases faster and more efficiently. We must keep thinking outside the box and working collaboratively on new solutions to build a safer community in New Orleans.”
According to NOPD reports, each of these crimes occurred inside or in the immediate vicinity of the survivors’ homes – including one victim who was attacked three weeks before her wedding day after the defendant woke her up with a gun threatening to kill her unless she complied.
One of the survivors said, “I appreciate the ADAs and officers who continued to work on this case—I was surprised about that. I had given up on him ever being found, and I’m proud of myself that I had the courage to go through with it.”
One of the survivors’ mother said, ““I feel good about this case ending because he needs to be punished so that he won’t hurt anyone else. He turned our lives upside down.”
This case is a great example of the power of technology and science to support the work of this office to secure convictions. Nearly 30 years ago, DNA evidence was collected from the crime scene involving these three victims. It was entered into the federal CODIS database, but these rapes went unsolved and the defendant’s identity was unknown for years. Years later, after securing a conviction against him for burglary, the defendant’s DNA was collected as part of prison protocol. We were able to link the newly-collected DNA to their three unsolved rape cases, leading to his conviction.
OPDA SAKI Unit Chief Mary Glass said, “This is the kind of crime that stays not only with a survivor but their entire family. We are incredibly grateful for these women and their families for the bravery that they have shown throughout this long ordeal. It is long past time for this nightmare to be over.”
The trial took place in Section B of Criminal District Court; Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier presided. The sentencing date is set for April 20, 2023. Defendant Rickmon faces 3 mandatory life sentences in prison for his conviction.
For the full press conference, please click here or visit facebook.com/orleansparishda. To learn more about the work of OPDA, please visit orleansda.com.