DNA key in '99 rape trial opening today

LAWRENCEVILLE — Opening statements are expected today in a 1999 rape case that police believe they cracked with a DNA match found nine years after the attack.

Raymond David Contreras, 44, is accused of kidnapping and raping a teenage girl who was walking home near Jimmy Carter Boulevard in August 1999.

Assistant District Attorney Teresa Klein, who is prosecuting, said opening statements in the trial are expected this morning.

The alleged victim told police Contreras took turns raping her with another man, who police were searching for upon Contreras’ August 2008 arrest. Klein said there is no co-defendant in the trial.

Contreras, 44, was arrested when a DNA sample he submitted to an offender database while serving prison time for a 2006 burglary matched DNA recovered from the Gwinnett teen, authorities said.

Police have said Contreras also matched a physical description given by the victim and a composite sketch released at the time.

The alleged victim, then 16, told police she was walking on Oakdale Road near Jimmy Carter Boulevard around midnight when a man forced her inside a truck. The men took her to an abandoned warehouse, raped her repeatedly, then dumped her out at a gas station on South Norcross-Tucker Road, police said at the time.

The teen immediately ran home to tell her mother what had happened, police said.

Police arrested Contreras on charges of false imprisonment, rape, kidnapping and aggravated assault. He has been held at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond since his arrest.