Man faces rape charge in case police say is linked to four others

Powanzieo Griffin_1557779657312.jpg.jpg

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk police have charged a man with rape in a 2017 case, and detectives say DNA evidence shows a connection with rapes in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News and Williamsburg.

Powanzieo Griffin, 29, of Chesapeake, is charged with one count of forcible rape in Norfolk General District Court.

According to a search warrant, Griffin entered a woman’s Norfolk apartment in 2017 and raped her. Detectives used DNA evidence from that crime to link it to the other sexual assaults in Virginia Beach in 2017, Chesapeake in 2018, Newport News in 2018 and Williamsburg.

In the Virginia Beach case, the victim was reportedly raped at gunpoint.

The warrant shows police had Griffin under surveillance in March after they found common threads among the cases. In some cases, police say he used the mobile app MeetMe or phone texts to arrange meetings, using the screen name “D” or “Dev.”   

Police then set up an undercover account on MeetMe — and traced subsequent text messages to Griffin and his address on Joplin Lane in Chesapeake.

Griffin’s attorney Eric Korslund said Monday afternoon that while the cases are linked to each other — so far at least, they are not linked by DNA to his client Griffin. He’s awaiting lab results on that.

Griffin is in jail with a court date of June 3 in Norfolk on the rape charge, but Korslund says he knows of no additional charges in any of the other four cities. 

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