Prosecutors: Clear Dead Serial Rapist of 1983 Florida Murder

Prosecutors: Clear Dead Serial Rapist of 1983 Florida Murder
Ronald Stewart (Florida Department of Corrections)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Florida prosecutors want a deceased serial rapist cleared of a 1983 murder, saying DNA evidence shows the killer was actually a man executed for a similar murder.

Broward County prosecutors asked a judge Thursday, March 21, to dismiss Ronald Stewart’s 1985 conviction for the murder of 20-year-old Regina Harrison. They say the real killer was Jack Jones, who was executed in 2017 for a 1995 Arkansas murder. Jones also pleaded guilty to a 1991 Fort Lauderdale murder.

Stewart was arrested in 1983 for serial rapes in the Fort Lauderdale area. He pleaded guilty to three and no contest to second-degree murder for Harrison’s slaying and sentenced to 50 years. He died in prison in 2008. Prosecutors say Stewart’s serial rape convictions and the evidence behind them stand.

Crime Statistics

Crime declined in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017, the FBI said in February.
Preliminary statistics show nearly all offenses in the violent crime category declined.

Robbery offenses decreased 12.5 percent, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses decreased 6.7 percent, and aggravated assault offenses declined 2 percent, the agency said. Rape, however, increased 0.6 percent.
When comparing data from the first six months of 2018 with the first six months of 2017, all property crime categories showed a decrease. Burglaries were down 12.7 percent, larceny-thefts decreased 6.3 percent, and motor vehicle thefts declined 3.3 percent.

The full 2018 crime report will be released later this year.

The FBI previously said that both violent crime and property crime decreased in 2017, the last year that full statistics are available for, compared to 2016. Overall violent crime decreased 0.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, while property crime decreased 3 percent during that time, the agency said in September 2018, releasing data from the previous year.

“There were more than 1.2 million violent crimes reported to UCR nationwide in 2017. There was a 0.7 percent decrease in murders and a 4 percent decrease in robberies from 2016 to 2017. Aggravated assaults increased by 1 percent in 2017. The FBI began collecting data solely on an updated rape definition last year, and 135,755 rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2017,” the FBI stated.

“The report also showed there were more than 7.7 million property crimes last year. Burglaries decreased 7.6 percent and larceny-thefts decreased by 2.2 percent. Motor vehicle thefts increased by 0.8 percent from 2016 to 2017.”
The figures were compiled from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies around the United States that submitted their crime data to the FBI.

Murders and Violent crimes

The number of murders and violent crimes committed in the United States dropped slightly in 2017, according to new crime statistics released in September 2018.

“Crime declined nationwide last year, consistent with our earlier analyses of 2017 data in the nation’s 30 largest cities,” Ames Grawert, senior counsel for the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, told the Washington Times.

“That’s the good news. The bad news is that even while crime is falling, the number of Americans incarcerated remains near-record highs. Now is the time to address the problem.”

The number of cases of manslaughter and murder dropped 0.7 percent in 2017 from the prior year, the report said.
Rapes rose by 3 percent and aggravated assault rose by 1 percent, but overall violent crimes dropped 0.2 percent, the report added.

In Pennsylvania, in 2017, the “violent crime rate was lower than the national rate last year at 313.3 per 100,000 residents. That includes 739 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters. The murder rate in Pennsylvania was 5.8 per 100,000 people, higher than the national rate of 5.3,” reported.

Two Pennsylvania cities were listed as “Murder Capitals of America” in 2018.

Chester in Delaware County and Harrisburg, the state capitals, were named as such, reported, citing website NeighborhoodScout.

Chester came in second in the United States after notorious East St. Louis, Illinois. In Chester, a city of 34,000, there were 23 murders in 2016, which has the latest data. In Harrisburg, which has 49,000 residents, there were 13 murders in 2016.

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