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Jury Finds Underwood Guilty in 26-Year-Old Rape, Kidnapping Case

Valentine Underwood was sentenced to 30 to 40 years for this case, on top of time already being served on a case out of California.

Valentine Underwood. File photo.
Valentine Underwood. File photo.

On Monday, an Essex County Superior Court jury found Valentine Underwood, 53, guilty today of aggravated rape and kidnapping, one day short of the 26th anniversary of the crime. Judge Howard Whitehead sentenced him to 30 to 40 years in state prison to follow the two life sentences the defendant is currently serving in California for murder.

He was charged with kidnapping a 24-year-old woman in Andover. He raped her, stabbed her, and left her to die in a ditch, prosecutors said. Underwood represented himself during trial in Salem Superior Court. 

The Essex County District Attorney's office said Underwood's crime went largely unsolved until 2009 when Andover Police submitted a rape kit taken at the time of the crime to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab where it generated a match to Underwood. 

Underwood was indicted on the charges in 2011 following a joint investigation by the Essex District Attorney’s Office, Andover Police, Rockingham County Attorney’s Office and Hampton, NH Police.

“This woman courageously fought for her life 26 years ago and she just as courageously testified in this trial.  I hope that this verdict and sentence provides her with the justice that was so long delayed,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement issued Monday night. 

Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall introduced evidence that proved that on May 20, 1988, Valentine Underwood forced the then 24-year-old victim’s car off River Road in Andover. He forcibly removed her from her car and put her in his truck. He then drove around Essex County and Southern New Hampshire, stopping to rape her at knifepoint. He eventually pulled over just past the toll booths in Hampton, NH, where he stabbed the victim in her side and attempted to slit her throat. She was able to deflect the knife and the blade broke off in her hand. After she threw the blade, Underwood beat her repeatedly and left her for dead.

The victim was able to get back to the highway and flag down a passing motorist who took her to Exeter Hospital where she received treatment and a rape kit.

ADA MacDougall commended the work of Andover Police Commander Charles Heseltine and Officer William Wallace; Hampton, NH Detectives Chris Gilroy, retired Detectives William Lally and Philip Russell and Exeter, NH Chief Richard Kane. In addition, she praised the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory and Essex Sheriff’s Department, who provided additional security during the course of the trial. Essex Victim Witness Advocate Kathy Draper provided assistance to the victim throughout the process.

mark May 20, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Yup the District Attorneys office grandstanding again! Police, detectives, hard work! Blah blah blah, same old sh** again! The lazy cops took 26 years to solve the case and also another case of a black guy attacking a white woman!

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