Ronnie Simpson, 38, was sentenced to eight years in prison without parole and will be on the Sex Offender Registry for Life. The settlement was approved by Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee.
On March 12, 1999, a 28-year-old woman told police she was walking in the vicinity of Grand and Zanone in Orange Mound when a man she knew as “Shun” struck her in the head with a handgun, pulled her clothing off and raped her.
DNA from an unknown male was obtained and uploaded into the FBI’s CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) where it was monitored for a potential match. In March of 2014, the DNA profile – a lengthy series of letters and numbers – was indicted to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring.
A month later, however, authorities got a “hit” on the profile which identified Simpson as the suspect. He was indicted by a grand jury in March of 2016.
Investigators then set out to find Simpson as well as the victim, who believed that her attacker she knew as “Shun” had been killed by someone in 2001. Using social media and computer data bases, DA Criminal Investigator A. J. Kant tracked Simpson from an old address in Memphis to another location in Houston, Texas, then to a Dallas suburb and finally to a homeless shelter in Austin where he was arrested last April and returned to Memphis.
The case was handled by Asst. Dist. Attys. Abby Wallace and Cavett Ostner of the DA’s Special Victims Unit which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
SVU reviews child-victim cases with Shelby County’s multi-agency Child Protection Investigative Team.