Serial rapist given two consecutive life sentences in DC

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In each case, Ronald P. Berton, Jr., 48, is said to have broken into the home of a woman who was sleeping.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. man was given two consecutive life sentences on Friday for home invasion sexual assaults he committed in 2007 and 2010. 

Ronald R. Berton, Jr., 48, was sentenced to life plus 27 years for breaking into women’s homes in Northwest D.C., sexually assaulting them, and fleeing with stolen property.

In the case from 2010, authorities say Berton was found guilty in February of 2023 of first-degree burglary, kidnapping, first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse, and attempted first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances.

In the 2007 case, Berton was found guilty in March 2020 of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances.

“This sentence helps to ensure that a very dangerous sexual predator will not roam our streets,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This office truly appreciates the courage it took for each survivor to come forward and testify about their ordeal in a courtroom full of strangers, particularly after so many years had passed. Their strength has undoubtedly saved others from falling prey to this serial offender. The people in this office will do everything possible to get justice for victims of sexual assault.”

According to evidence presented during trial, on June 12, 2010, around 7:30 a.m., the victim was sleeping in her ground-level apartment in Adams Morgan. This is when Berton, a stranger, entered her home without permission and proceeded to her bedroom, where he stood over her.

Officials say the victim woke up and Berton restrained her before sexually assaulting her. The victim fought back, ultimately collecting Berton’s DNA underneath her fingernails. 

After the assault, Berton stole the woman’s phone and ran from her apartment. He then used her stolen SIM car, which he placed into a different handset, to call an acquaintance five hours later.

After the assault, officials say the victim ran to a nearby firehouse to report it. 

MPD detectives responded shortly and a crime scene technician swabbed under her fingernails for possible DNA. The fingernail swabs were tested in 2010 and resulted in a partial DNA profile of Berton under her left-hand fingernails and a more complete profile under her right-hand fingernails, according to a news release.

In 2017, investigators developed Berton as a suspect in the 2010 assault when he was identified as the suspect in the 2007 home invasion sexual assault in Northwest.

In that case, police say Berton entered a ground-level Adams Morgan apartment of a 27-year-old woman who was sleeping. He then restrained the woman before sexually assaulting her, stealing her phone and fleeing.

The victim in this case got an immediate Sexual Assault Examination and reported the offenses to police. 

Berton was later identified as the suspect of the sexual assault and home invasion by his DNA profile. 

He was convicted of the 2007 crimes in a March 2020 trial, in which the jury found him guilty of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. 

Authorities claim Berton also had a 2014 rape conviction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Arlington County. In that case, the attack happened in September 2010 when Berton entered the ground-level apartment of a woman who was sleeping and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, he stole two cell phones and a laptop and fled.

He was later identified as the perpetrator through DNA.

U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee thanked officers with the Metropolitan Police Department who helped investigate this case.

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Serial rapist given two consecutive life sentences in DC

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