Crime & Courts

Anchorage man, 66, charged with sex assault following DNA match

A hit on a national law enforcement DNA database has led to criminal charges against a 66-year-old man living in Anchorage for allegedly raping a woman at knifepoint in July 2015.

Alfonso Matthews faces charges of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree assault, the District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Anchorage police got a report from a woman in July 2015 that she had been sexually assaulted at knifepoint after trying to hitchhike from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, prosecutors said.

"The woman could not identify the suspect so the investigation was suspended until the State Crime Lab provided notification of the CODIS hit in October 2016," the statement says.

CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System, is the FBI's DNA database shared among law enforcement nationwide. It generally contains DNA profiles for people arrested or convicted of certain crimes, like sex assaults and murder, among other serious offenses.

District Attorney Clint Campion said Matthews was on felony probation in Alaska for an offense he committed in Oregon. Anchorage police coordinated with probation officials Friday to determine his whereabouts, Campion said.

Matthews was arrested Friday morning. He is being held on bail totaling $200,000 and is set to make an initial court appearance on Monday.

If convicted, Matthews faces a prison sentence of up to 99 years for the sex assault charge.

Campion said it is not uncommon for hits on the database to take eight or more months. The hit must meet a handful of criteria to ensure its strength as valid evidence prosecutors can use in court, he said.

"It can be very partial evidence, so we want to make sure when we get that hit it's certain. We have to go back to victims who may have thought their case would never be reopened, and we want to make sure that when law enforcement makes that contact we're comfortable with the findings," Campion said.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.