WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A man charged in a 20-year-old Howland rape case appeared in court for his arraignment on Wednesday.
Jack Sheetz, 48, is charged with rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. He was picked up from Utica, New York on Tuesday and taken to Trumbull County Jail.
Back in December of 1996, a 75-year-old woman was raped in her Howland Township home during what police say was a home invasion. The case went cold for 19 years but when detectives reopened it for the third time last year, they finally got a break.
“It’s a good feeling for us, to see him in the courtroom today,” said Det. Tony Villanueva.
Standing in the back of the courtroom, Villanueva and Det. Jeff Edmundson watched as Sheetz pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
“We’re here today just to show our support and, you know, from the start, we’ve been just here for the victim,” Villanueva said.
The victim in this case passed away almost 11 years ago, but her family told officers that they’re happy someone will finally be held responsible for the attack.
Villanueva and Edmundson have put a lot of time into this case after reopening it for the third time last November. That’s when they say they got their big break, when Sheetz’s DNA came up as a match with the evidence collected from the victim’s sexual assault kit.
“Obviously, the Howland Police Department, particularly Det. Edmundson and Det. Villanueva, have done an excellent job here. I can’t speak…specifically to the case, obviously, when it’s pending,” said Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.
Sheetz remains in the Trumbull County Jail where he’s held on a $500,000 bond. A pretrial is scheduled for October 5.