Raymand Charles Rowe was arrested on June 25, 2018 and charged in the December 21, 1992 rape and murder of 25-year-old Christy Mirack in East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania.
Mirack was a Grade 6 teacher. She was just leaving her home for work that morning when she was attacked violently in her home. She was raped, her jaw was broken, and she died from strangulation. She was still wearing her coat and gloves when she was found. The principal of the school found her when he went to her home, worried and looking for her because she did not show up for work. She had prepared Christmas presents for her coworkers and students which she was to bring that morning.
The FGG investigation was undertaken by Parabon. Rowe, a local DJ known as DJ Freez, was reported in an online magazine talking about his heritage and his love for Puerto Rican food. It was known through forensic phenotyping that the suspect likely had a parent who was of Puerto Rican ancestry. The initial confirmation was made through police surveillance and the surreptitious sampling of a water bottle and a piece of chewing gum that Rowe had discarded in his trash.
Rowe states that he had found God and faith in recent years, and that this led him to pled guilty to the charges. He delivered an apology to Christy’s family in court for what he had done. As part of the plea agreement, the death penalty was taken off the table and he was sentenced to life without parole. The Mirack family was included in discussions leading to the plea agreement.
In August of 2021, Rowe sought a post-conviction relief hearing. He is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea and have a trail. He states that he visited Mirack that morning, and they had consensual sex, but that she was alive when he left her.
On April 21, 2022, Judge Dennis Reinaker of Lancaster County denied Rowe’s motion to overturn his conviction, holding that Rowe’s claim that Mirack had consensual sex with him, and that another unknown individual killed her within a ten-minute window, was not believable. The judge also denied testing of other items in her home for DNA. Judge Reinaker stated, “This court is unable to fathom that someone else entered the home between the hours of 7 a.m. and between the timeframe of 7:10 a.m.-7:20 a.m, found the victim without her clothes on, covered in semen, and murdered her without leaving any additional DNA on her body.”
Rowe appealed that decision, and his appeal was denied by the Pennsylvania Superior Court on April 18, 2023. The Court found that it was open to the defence at the time Rowe entered his guilty plea to undertake the DNA testing they were now requesting. Prosecutors argued that Rowe received a more favourable sentence because of his guilty plea, and that he was missing the post-conviction review process to try to now overturn the conviction. The matter was not tried in court because of that plea.
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Nephin, Dan. “Raymond Rowe Wants to Withdraw Guilty Plea, Get Trial in Christy Mirack Rape, Murder at Court Hearing Thursday.” Lancaster Online, September 1, 2021. Accessed December 28, 2021. https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/raymond-rowe-wants-to-withdraw-guilty-plea-get-trial-in-christy-mirack-rape-murder-at/article_8ccf4690-0b51-11ec-b2f9-c3d42a1b0913.html.
Schweigert, Keith. “State Superior Court Upholds Denial of Raymond Rowe’s Petition for Post-Conviction DNA Testing in Christy Mirack Murder Case.” Fox 43 News, April 19, 2023. Accessed April 19, 2023. https://www.fox43.com/article/news/local/lancaster-county/raymond-rowe-christy-mirack-murder-case-court-upholds-denial-dna-testing/521-7b76efdc-26eb-45e5-8297-3caa9de97519.
Scolforo, Mark. “Popular DJ Convicted in Schoolteacher’s Decades-Old Killing Thanks to Genealogy Database, Gum.” ABC 7 Chicago, January 9, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://abc7chicago.com/genealogy-database-gum-help-convict-dj-in-92-killing/5039697/.
Shapiro, Emily. “DJ Admits to Cold Case Murder After Being Linked Through Novel DNA Technique, Apologizes to Victim’s Family in Court.” ABC News, January 8, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/US/dj-admits-cold-case-murder-linked-dna-technique/story?id=60234009.