DNA evidence seals rape cases Hollywood man pleads guilty in 2 assaults

William Jason Woods, 29, of Hollywood, pleaded guilty Wednesday to raping a woman in 2011 and to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 2007. At left is his attorney, Melissa Gay.

DNA evidence from one rape investigation linked a father of four to an unsolved case of two men who took turns having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

William Jason Woods, 29, of Hollywood, pleaded guilty to both charges Wednesday afternoon. Circuit Judge Markley Dennis sentenced Woods to two concurrent, 12-year sentences.

The circumstances of the two incidents bore similar details.

In the first case, a 13-year-old girl snuck out of her home in Goose Creek in the early morning hours on July 17, 2007, to meet Woods and another man, according to court records. The two men took turns having sex with the girl, authorities said, until they reached Dixie Plantation Road in Hollywood.

They left her there on a dirt road.

The girl ran to a house with lights on, where residents called authorities. The girl then underwent a sexual-assault examination at Medical University Hospital.

Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth Gordon said a DNA hit came back more than four years later, after authorities collected evidence in the second case.

In that incident, a woman told authorities that she met Woods and his friend Bunny at a North Charleston Kangaroo gas station on Jan. 2, 2011. They intended to go to a party, according to court records, but Woods dropped off his friend and took the woman to Bulow Boat Landing in Ravenel.

There, on a dirt road, he put his hand down her pants, the woman told authorities. When she pushed him away, Woods took her cellphone and jumped from the car.

The woman stepped out to get her phone back, and Woods grabbed her by the arm and pushed her head into the driver's seat of the car, then raped her, according to court records.

Woods left the woman on the rural road, court records show, then drove away with her phone and purse.

She ran to the nearest house with lights, according to assistant solicitor Timmy Finch. The woman and her son who answered the door happened to know Woods and reported the incident.

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division compares evidence against DNA profiles contained in its database and the FBI's national DNA databank known as CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System.

Woods' DNA profile from the 2011 case generated a hit from the 2007 incident with the 13-year-old girl.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson called the DNA database “one of the greatest accomplishments of the legislature.”

“It's growing and growing,” she said. Each year, her office gets hits on several cold cases, thanks to existing DNA profiles, according to Wilson.

Woods' attorney, Melissa Gay, said her client works as a mechanic and is married with four children. Gay said Woods gave investigators information on the other man who allegedly had sex with the 13-year-old girl, although the DNA hit implicated only Woods.

“He has, since the beginning of this case, wanted to plead to these charges,” Gay said.

The judge stopped to ask Woods if the facts in each case had been presented correctly. Both times, Woods answered, “Yes sir.”

Asked if he wanted to say anything, Woods declined.

Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/allyson jbird.