Suspect in 1996 WFU assault pleads guilty, sentenced to 32 years

A Forsyth County man has pleaded guilty to a 1996 sexual assault on a female Wake Forest University student in a university residence hall.

Shawn Randell Martin, 25, was sentenced Sept. 3 in Forsyth County Superior Court to 32 years in prison. He will begin serving the term at the expiration of a current prison sentence for unrelated offenses in Winston-Salem.

Martin pleaded guilty to first-degree charges of rape, sexual offense, burglary, armed robbery and kidnapping, according to a Forsyth County prosecutor. Wake Forest University Police charged Martin in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Jim O’Neill said DNA evidence linked Martin to the assault.

“DNA evidence takes away the possibility that it could be anyone but him,” O’Neill said.

In 2001, Martin was convicted in two 1999 sexual offenses. Investigators saw similarities in those incidents and the 1996 assault on campus and obtained a search warrant to get a DNA sample from Martin.

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