DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) – DNA evidence helped Dorchester County sheriff's deputies make an arrest in a 26-year-old rape case this week.
The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office named 45-year-old Herbert Leroy Holmes Jr. as a suspect in an armed robbery and sexual assault that occurred in October 1984.
According to the sheriff's office, a lone gunman entered the Book Bag on Oct. 25, 1984 and robbed the clerk of over $400. The clerk was then dragged to a back room, sexually assaulted and then personally robbed of her jewelry. The assailant fled on foot and remained unidentified for over 26 years, a report stated.
The sheriff's office says that the evidence gathered during the original investigation was reexamined and the DNA was identified using the combined DNA index system (CODIS). The DNA was found to belong Holmes Jr.
Holmes, who is currently in the Department of Corrections for a 1988 sexual assault that occurred in Berkeley County, will be transported to the Summerville Annex of the Dorchester County Detention Center on Thursday. Holmes faces charges of armed robbery and first degree criminal sexual conduct.
After Thursday's bond hearing, he will return to the Department of Corrections unless released, at which time he will be housed in the Dorchester County Detention Center until the charges are heard in court.
Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight said that clearing old cases such as this gives great personal satisfaction and hopefully will help bring closure to the victims and their families.
The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office does not have a dedicated cold case investigator, but it is mandated that old cases are periodically reviewed to determine if any new leads have come in or if new technology could be used to examine old evidence.