Suspect Tracked by GPS Convicted of Sex Offense

By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 29, 2009

A convicted rapist who was caught trying to grab a woman and pin her down after police attached a Global Positioning System device to his vehicle was convicted of a sex offense yesterday and given a mandatory life sentence.

An Arlington County Circuit Court jury deliberated for a little more than an hour before finding David L. Foltz Jr., 41, of the Falls Church area guilty of abduction with intent to defile.

"It's good to see the public is being protected," Commonwealth's Attorney Richard E. Trodden said after the verdict.

Police were tracking Foltz after he was identified as a possible suspect in 11 attacks on women in Alexandria and Fairfax County. He has not been charged in the other cases.

Prosecutors said Foltz, who was convicted in 1990 of rape and burglary, spent about three hours driving through residential areas, hunting for targets, before he attacked the 46-year-old woman Feb. 6 in Falls Church. All the while, police were watching his movements.

At one point, he got out of his vehicle and started following another woman but turned back after she went inside a residence.

"He was out to find a victim, and it just happened to be her unfortunate position that she became his victim that night," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Frances O'Brien told the jury.

When Foltz saw the victim, he followed her for nearly half a mile down Hillwood Avenue and "decided the time was right," O'Brien said. "This was the perfect target."

The victim testified that Foltz grabbed her from behind and pulled her off the sidewalk in the 600 block of Hillwood in Falls Church.

He put one hand over her mouth, touched her in the genital area and tried to unbutton her pants, she said. She was able to bite his hand and started screaming, she said. The Washington Post generally does not name victims of sex crimes.

A team of undercover police officers tracking Foltz came to her rescue in a matter of seconds.

Defense attorney Chris Leibig twice called the officers' actions "heroic," and he conceded that his client, whom he acknowledged was "not a sympathetic character," attacked the woman. But he argued that the prosecution "overcharged" Foltz with a crime he could not have committed.

The entire incident lasted five or six seconds, not enough time for an abduction to occur, he said. As for the intent to sexually molest her, he argued that the touching could have been by accident.

"In the twisting, writhing five seconds, wouldn't it have just as likely been an inadvertent touch?" Leibig said.

He also said the incident occurred in a wealthy residential neighborhood and near a busy thoroughfare during rush hour, hardly the place for a rape, he said.

Court records show that Foltz was arrested in 1990 in a series of attacks on women and confessed to a 1986 rape near his family's home. He was convicted of burglary and forcible rape and served 17 years in prison before being released on parole in 2007.

Under Virginia law, a second conviction for a sexual offense carries a mandatory life sentence. After the verdict, Leibig said it was unfair that the "two strikes" law allowed the jury to know about Foltz's rape conviction before determining his guilt in the abduction case.

It was also unfair, he said, that the jury was not informed about the mandatory life sentence until after it had found Foltz guilty. He said Foltz planned to appeal.

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