Jury selection begins for Wilmington cold case rape trial
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of Wayne Soller, 25 years after he allegedly broke into the victim’s home and raped her.
Soller was charged two years ago for first degree rape, first degree burglary, and first degree sex offense. Soller’s arrest was made possible through a DNA match after a statewide push to process backlogged rape kits.
WPD detectives traveled to Florida to interview Soller, which helped bring the case to a close. Police were able to find a DNA match because Soller had been arrested for assaulting a police officer in Florida.
According to the DOJ last week, 16,186 rape kits have been inventoried, 2,925 have been tested already and 5,342 are in the process of being tested. Since the push to process the kits began, 1,040 DNA profiles have been entered into the national database and authorities have seen 455 CODIS hits to the database.
District Attorney Ben David will be personally prosecuting the case when the trial begins.
“This happened 25 years ago and here we are. There’s people sitting on that jury that weren’t even born when this case happened, and it just shows you the importance of never giving up and saying the truth will emerge if you keep fighting for it,” said David. “It’s yet another reminder that justice never sleeps and there’s no statute of limitations on any felony. I’m very pleased the day is finally here and I know that this is a very hard thing for people, particularly during a pandemic, to take time out of their lives to be a part of the jury.”
Jury selection will continue Friday and the trial will likely last through late next week.
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