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Attorney General Josh Stein Wins Criminal Appeal Against a Convicted Rapist

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein announced that his office won a criminal appeal in a sexual assault cold case that was solved when law enforcement began testing older untested kits in their custody. The criminal appeal was handled by Solicitor General Ryan Park’s office within the North Carolina Department of Justice. As a result of the Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision, Wayne Soller’s current convictions and sentence will stand.

“This case demonstrates why we can never let up in our effort to test older kits,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “When we test kits, we solve crimes, get dangerous offenders off the street, and make our communities safer. I’m grateful to the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office for successfully investigating and prosecuting this case and to my Solicitor General’s team for defending this conviction.”

Wayne Soller was convicted in 2021 for second-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, and first-degree burglary and was sentenced to 24 to 29 years in prison. The assault occurred 25 years earlier in 1996, but the victim’s sexual assault kit was never submitted for testing. At the time, kits were only submitted for analysis if law enforcement had already identified a suspect. Wilmington Police Department eventually submitted the kit in 2018 upon the victim’s request, and after Attorney General Josh Stein asked local law enforcement agencies to inventory their older untested sexual assault kits and test the backlog of kits. The DNA from the kit matched Soller’s, whose DNA was already in the national DNA database from an unrelated 2014 arrest. The Wilmington Police Department arrested Soller and the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office prosecuted the case.

The North Carolina Department of Justice prosecutes all appeals of criminal convictions in North Carolina.

To learn more about the progress on testing the backlog of sexual assault kits in local law enforcement custody, visit https://ncdoj.gov/testthekits.

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