Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the trial conviction of JOSEPH GIARDALA, 46, for raping a 25-year-old woman in the West Village in January 1995. The conviction follows a DNA “cold case hit” in which GIARDALA’s DNA profile was matched to a “John Doe” profile indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2003. GIARDALA was found guilty by a New York State Supreme Court jury on all counts, including Rape, Sexual Abuse, and Robbery in the First Degrees, among other charges. He is expected to be sentenced on August 3, 2016.
“Had New York City not tackled its own rape kit backlog more than a decade ago, Joseph Giardala may never have faced justice for this brutal attack,” said District Attorney Vance. “Convictions like this underscore the necessity of testing backlogged rape kits, and the power of DNA evidence to solve crimes across state lines. Today, I joined a meeting of recipients of $80 million in grants for rape kit testing and reform being made available by my Office and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Just as a DNA profile uploaded in Florida to the national DNA databank helped solve this case, the hundreds of DNA profiles uploaded thus far under our initiative are linking to crimes committed in states around the country. I hope that this conviction provides a sense of closure to this survivor, who took the stand with such bravery more than two decades after her assault, and that our ongoing efforts to test rape kits across the country provide hope to the many survivors nationwide who are still waiting for their cases to be solved.”
As proven at trial, shortly after midnight on January 23, 1995, GIARDALA attacked a 25-year-old woman as she walked home from a movie theater in Chelsea. GIARDALA robbed the victim at knifepoint before forcing her into the vestibule of a nearby building in the West Village, and raping her. The victim immediately went to St. Vincent’s Hospital following the attack, where the elements of a sexual assault evidence kit, or “rape kit,” were collected.
In 2002, a DNA profile developed from the victim’s rape kit as part of New York City’s Rape Kit Backlog Project was uploaded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), but did not immediately match a preexisting DNA profile. The District Attorney’s Office presented the criminal case to a New York Supreme Court Grand Jury in 2003, obtaining a “John Doe” indictment listing the perpetrator by his DNA profile. In early 2015, following an unrelated matter, GIARDALA’s DNA profile was entered into CODIS in Florida, and matched the DNA profile listed on the “John Doe” indictment.
Assistant District Attorney Samuel David tried this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges, Chief of the Forensic Sciences/Cold Case Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Investigative Analyst Shanni Davidowitz and Senior Rackets Investigators Alan Sandomir and Steven Lane assisted with the investigation, as did Assistant District Attorney Martha Bashford, Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit.
District Attorney Vance thanked the New York Police Department and the United States Marshals for their assistance with the case.
JOSEPH GIARDALA, a/k/a JOSEPH GIARDALAS, D.O.B. 5/15/1970
- Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
- Robbery in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
- Sodomy in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
- Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D felony, two counts