Two decades later, DNA match spurs guilty plea in Va. Beach rape case

Robert Lee Lane

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — For more than two decades, there was no justice for a Virginia Beach woman who was raped on her way home from work one November night in 1992.

But this week DNA evidence finally linked the suspect to the harrowing assault that happened in the Magic Hollow area of Virginia Beach.

50-year-old Robert Lee Lane entered a plea agreement in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and abduction with the intent to defile, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge James C. Lewis.

Lane was already serving life plus 220 years after being convicted on separate rape and abduction charges in 2002.

The plea agreement keeps the case from going to trial, but Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin D. Stolle says evidence would have proven Lane committed the crime back on Nov. 4, 1992.

That night, the victim was walking home from work when she was passed by a bicycle ridden by Lane, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

When Lane told the woman she looked “sexy,” she ignored him and kept walking.

Moments later, he approached from behind and placed a knife to her neck.

Lane then walked her to a park, pushed her onto a table and raped her at knife-point.

When Lane fled the scene, she began screaming for her husband as she ran home to call police.

The victim was administered a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE exam) where evidence, including seminal fluid, was collected and preserved in the custody of the Virginia Beach Police Department.

But no suspect was identified at the time, so the case went cold for more than 20 years. However in 2016, the evidence was resubmitted to the Department of Forensic Science (DFS), where a DNA match was made to Lane.

Lane charges from 2002 include abduction with the intent to defile (2 counts), rape (3 counts), and carjacking. He also has prior convictions for indecent liberties, burglary (2 counts), grand larceny, and possession of cocaine.