Man sentenced for 2001 rape in East Grand Rapids

Jody Howland submitted incriminating DNA sample after felony drug charge arrest

Mug shot of Jody Howland.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man charged after a new law required him to submit a sample of his DNA has been sentenced for committing a rape in East Grand Rapids 15 years ago.

Jody Howland, 52, was sentenced Wednesday to between 35 and 55 years in prison.

In February 2001, the then-23-year-old victim was attacked by a stranger as she walked in East Grand Rapids in the early morning. DNA linked the assault to two more rapes that happened over the next few years in Texas.

Howland was connected to the rapes after he was arrested on a felony drug charge on the east side of Michigan in the spring of 2015. Under a law that had only recently gone into effect, he was required to give a sample of his DNA at the time of his arrest. In late August, he sample came up as a match to the 2001 assault.

Howland was soon charged in the case. He pleaded no contest in April of this year.

Authorities in Texas previously indicated they planned to charge Howland once his Michigan case had been wrapped up. It’s not yet clear if that’s still their intention or when that may happen.

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