NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Linwood Scott, who is believed to be in his late 70’s, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for an attack on a young mother that occurred 28 years ago.

10 On Your Side has followed the case of rape victim Margaret Mills Smith since 2020. After Friday’s sentencing hearing, the victim shared new details about the crime that she says stole her sense of security.

On March 18, 1994, a stranger broke into then-19-year-old Margaret Mills Smith’s home on Stockton Road in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted her. The rapist entered the home via Smith’s two-year-old daughter’s bedroom window. Smith says her little girl saw the rapist.

“Weeks maybe even a month later she started having nightmares saying, ‘Mommy the man is in my window,’ recalled Smith who says that daughter, now an adult, has no memory of that violent night.

Evidence showed the suspect cut telephone lines and unscrewed porch and living room lightbulbs.

He surveyed the kitchen, picked up a butcher knife, and approached the 19-year-old who was awakened when the suspect put the knife’s blade on her neck.

After the attack, Smith says the rapist offered a cruel gesture and haunting comments.

The last thing he said to me before he left that night, he put me back in bed and pulled the blanket up to my neck as if he were tucking me in. He put the butcher knife up to my throat and said ‘You owe me your life.

Year after year the case remained unsolved. In 2019, after seeing news reports about untested rape kitsSmith called on Norfolk police to reopen her case.

In a matter of weeks, the decades-old cold case was solved, leading to the arrest of Linwood Scott as he was about to be released from prison on an unrelated conviction. Scott was incarcerated outside Richmond — just days away from finishing a 15-year sentence for burglary.

In June, a jury convicted Scott of rape, abduction, and burglary. A Norfolk Circuit Court judge sentenced Scott to 40 years for rape with 20 years suspended, 10 years for burglary with 5 years suspended, and 10 years for abduction with 5 years suspended. Before the sentence was handed down, Smith in a statement to the court adapted Scott’s words to describe the sense of satisfaction in knowing that justice was served.

“And so I looked up to him in the courtroom and said ‘now you owe me yours[your life].'”

Immediately after the sentencing, Smith traveled to Norfolk’s Forest Lawn Cemetery where her parents, Leroy and Helen Mills are buried.

“I came here today to visit my mom and dad so that I could let them know the good news that finally I got justice. My mom and dad were really hurt by the incident that happened in 1994 and I hoped that they would see, being that, Linwood has finally been found guilty now they can rest in peace and we can move forward with our lives.

Smith encourages other victims of unsolved Norfolk rape cases to contact investigators. Her case was the city’s first cold case rape investigation that resulted in a conviction.

“My message to them would be don’t give up; keep calling and just never give up,” said Smith.

She is also grateful that Larry Hockman, the detective who responded to her home after the attack, properly stored her rape evidence kit. Other rape evidence kits from that era are missing, damaged, and destroyed. The retired Norfolk detective assisted in the reopened investigation and was on the scene when Scott was charged with the 28-year-old rape case. Hockman and other now-retired officers assisted in the reopened investigation.

“Mr. Hockman did not[destroy the kit] he made sure; he took it back to a locker somewhere safe and he kept that box and it sat in a warehouse for 26 years until I called. Had it not been for me making that phone call and getting his [Scott’s] DNA hit, he would have been back on the streets,” said Smith.

Victims can call the Norfolk Police Special Victims Unit at 757-664-7033 and the Cold Case Unit at 757-664-7137.

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