The Springfield mother endured the type of nightmarish crime every parent fears: Her 5-year-old daughter was abducted from her bed, molested in nearby woods and then repeatedly stabbed with a long kitchen knife.
So, as each of the four guilty verdicts was read against the teen accused of the attack Thursday, the mother’s tears flowed more fully as she sat in a Fairfax County courtroom.
It took jurors two hours to return their verdict against Springfield resident Jonathan Nathaniel Ramsey, 16, who faces the possibility of life in prison when he is sentenced in September.
Ramsey — who was convicted of abduction with intent to defile and malicious wounding, among other charges — was tried as an adult in the attack, which occurred in the early hours of August 27.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Casey Lingan said Ramsey had gone to the family’s Brocton Court home with only one intention that night, while the defense argued authorities focused their investigation on the wrong person.
“He wasn’t looking for valuable items,” Lingan said in his closing statement. “He was looking for a priceless item — a 5-year-old girl.”
The first witness to testify during the nearly two-week trial was the girl’s mother, who described how she and her family had gone for a walk the evening before the attack, ate popcorn and watched TV. (The Post generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.)
All was quiet when she put her daughter to bed, but around 4 a.m., the woman was awakened by her daughter’s cries. The mother said she went to the stairs and saw the girl below.
“When I turned the light on, I realized there was blood,” the mother testified.
As graphic photographs shown during the trial illustrated, the girl suffered a deep wound on one arm, a cut on her wrist, puncture wounds on a shoulder and saw-like cuts across her neck. Lingan said she also suffered a lacerated liver.
Lingan said Ramsey forced open the home’s front window, went to the girl’s bedroom and walked out with her. In a nearby stand of trees, he sexually assaulted her before stabbing her, Lingan said.
Ramsey’s fingerprints were found near the front window of the girl’s home and a footprint that matched his sandals was found inside, Lingan said.
A state forensics expert testified that the girl’s DNA was found on pair of bloody boxer shorts and a T-shirt that were stuffed into bags in the backyard of Ramsey’s home near Brocton Court. Ramsey’s DNA was also identified on the clothing.
Before the jury reached a decision, it had to consider the defense’s contention that authorities had put the wrong person on trial. Defense attorney Andrew Elders said that Ramsey was in the home on Aug. 27 but only to burglarize it — not to abduct the girl.
The real culprit, he said, was a close friend of Ramsey’s. The two had smoked pot and played video games all summer, but the friend harbored a secret that Elders said made him a compelling suspect: He had been convicted of a misdemeanor for molesting a young girl.
Elders alleged that both Ramsey and the teen were there that night, but it was the other teen who picked out the house, grabbed the young girl and later let Ramsey take the fall for a “heinous crime.” The teen Elders accused has not been charged.
“Jonathan Ramsey is simply not the type of kid who could commit a crime like this,” Elders said in his closing statement.
During the trial, Ramsey took the stand and described how he had seen the friend walk out the home with the girl over his shoulder and disappear into the night.
“I froze. I was shocked. I was like, holy [expletive] what . . . was I seeing,” Ramsey testified.
Lingan called the story “complete fantasy.”
The teen’s uncle testified he had seen him asleep at home around the time of the attack, and the state forensic expert said the teen’s DNA was not on the clothes that were found.
During cross examination, Lingan questioned Ramsey about his activities and movements that night. After roughly three hours, it culminated with Lingan sharply questioning Ramsey about the crime.
Lingan: “You took her from her room and defiled her that night, no?”
Lingan: “Like any good criminal, you stabbed her to get rid of the evidence, no?”
Ramsey: “That’s not right.”
But the jury ultimately rejected Ramsey’s story. After he was found guilty, Ramsey punched a door as deputies led him of the courtroom.
More from The Washington Post: