WOONSOCKET – A man tied to two cold cases of rape after police recently obtained a sample of his DNA while he was incarcerated for an unrelated offense was indicted by a Providence County grand jury on Friday.
Armand J. Ferrio, 25, of 186 South Main St., is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of first-degree robbery.
The robbery and one of the assault counts stem from an incident in 2004, while the remainder date back to a second incident that occurred in 2009 during which the victim was sexually assaulted “multiple times,” according to Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the attorney general.
Ferrio was arrested by the Woonsocket police in September after he was tied to the crimes through DNA collected from him during a prior stint at the Adult Correctional Institutions. Detective Alan Leclaire was in charge of the investigation.
In December 2004, police say, a man believed to be Ferrio stopped his car to talk to a woman walking over the River Street bridge. The woman was later raped on a nearby stretch of train tracks.
On Nov. 1, 2009, police say a 49-year-old woman was raped after falling asleep at a friend’s house. The woman told police she woke up when a stranger with short hair and a tattoo on his forearm began choking her, nearly to the point of unconsciousness.
The assailant removed her pants and raped her several times before fleeing the scene of the crime, an apartment on South Main Street not far from Ferrio’s last known address.
Police say Leclaire was investigating the case when he noticed similarities to the unsolved rape from 2004. Evidence collected from both victims turned out to be a match for DNA seized from Ferrio at the ACI.
Ferrio has a criminal record that dates back to 2004, with convictions for drunken driving, violating a restraining order, obstructing, breaking and entering, possession of marijuana, and an assortment of misdemeanors.
In January 2011, he pleaded no contest to felony assault and was sentenced to five years, with one to serve at the ACI, according to court records.
On Nov. 4, after being released on bail following a preliminary court appearance on the pending rape charges, the state police arrested him for intimidating a witness tied to one of the cases.
He’s currently held without bail at the ACI and is scheduled to return to Superior Court for arraignment on Feb. 8.