Serial Rapist Sentenced for 2007 and 2010 Home Invasion Sexual Assaults of Women in Northwest D.C.

Serial Rapist Sentenced for 2007 and 2010 Home Invasion Sexual Assaults of Women in Northwest D.C.

Defendant Was Convicted in Separate Trials

            WASHINGTON – Ronald P. Berton, Jr., 48, of the District of Columbia, was sentenced today to two life sentences for home invasion sexual assaults committed in 2007 and 2010. Berton was sentenced to life without the possibility of release plus 27 years for a June 2010 home invasion and sexual assault of an adult woman; and to life without the possibility of release for the October 2007 home invasion and sexual assault of another adult woman. Both victims were strangers to Berton.  The sentences, which will run consecutively to each other, were announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief Robert J. Contee, III, of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            In the case from 2010, Berton was found guilty, in February of 2023, of first-degree burglary, kidnapping, first degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, assault with intent to commit first degree sexual abuse, and attempted first degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. In the 2007 case, Berton was found guilty, in March of 2020, of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances.

            “This sentence helps to ensure that a very dangerous sexual predator will not roam our streets,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This office truly appreciates the courage it took for each survivor to come forward and testify about their ordeal in a courtroom full of strangers, particularly after so many years had passed. Their strength has undoubtedly saved others from falling prey to this serial offender. The people in this office will do everything possible to get justice for victims of sexual assault.”    

            “Every survivor deserves justice, and I’m pleased that, through the hard work of our officers, detectives, attorneys, and other law enforcement partners, our criminal justice system has delivered it to these two women,” said Chief Contee. “The Metropolitan Police Department is committed to closing every case, no matter how long it takes.”

             According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, on June 12, 2010, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the victim was at home sleeping in her ground level apartment in Adams Morgan. Berton, who was a stranger to the victim, entered her home and proceeded into her bedroom where he stood over her. The victim woke up and the defendant restrained her and sexually assaulted her. The victim fought back, ultimately collecting the defendant’s DNA underneath the fingernails of both her hands. After the assault, Berton stole the victim’s phone and fled. The defendant used the victim’s stolen SIM card, which he placed into a different handset, to call an acquaintance five hours later.

            The victim ran to a firehouse immediately after the assault and reported the offenses. MPD responded promptly and a crime scene technician swabbed under her fingernails for possible DNA. The fingernail swabs were tested in 2010 and resulted in a partial DNA profile of the defendant under her left hand fingernails and a more complete profile under her right hand fingernails.

            Berton was developed as a suspect in this case in approximately 2017, when detectives with MPD’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit identified him as the suspect in a 2007 home invasion sexual assault. In that case, Berton had entered the ground level Adams Morgan apartment of a 27 year-old woman who was sleeping. The defendant restrained and sexually assaulted her and then stole her phone and fled. The victim obtained an immediate Sexual Assault Examination and reported the offenses to police. Berton was later identified as the perpetrator of this offense by his DNA profile. He was convicted of the 2007 crimes in a March 2020 trial, in which the jury found him guilty of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances.

            Berton also has a 2014 rape conviction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Arlington County. In that case, in September 2010, Berton entered the ground level apartment of a woman who was sleeping and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, the defendant stole two cell phones and a laptop and fled. He was later identified as the perpetrator through DNA.

            In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and FBI CAST team. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stuart Allen, Dan Lenerz, Nick Coleman, Bryan Han, Chrisellen Kolb, and Sharon Donovan; Lisa Kreeger-Norman, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Paralegal Specialists Cynthia Muhammad, Garcia Clarke, and Tiffany Jones; Lead Paralegal Specialist Michelle Wicker; and Victim/Witness Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington. 

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen Kern and Amy Zubrensky, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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