'Justice has no time limit,' solicitor says

Herman S. Rigby Jr.

SUMMERVILLE — One woman was kidnapped at knifepoint outside a fast-food restaurant. One was abducted from a nightclub. Two others were targeted as they sat in a friend's disabled car.

They were all raped between March and September 1987, so long ago that at least one of the women has since died, but "justice has no time limit," 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe said Wednesday.

Pascoe made the comment after Summerville police and Dorchester County sheriff's investigators announced that they have filed four charges of kidnapping and four charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Herman Sammie Rigby Jr., 50, in the 1987 cases.

Rigby has been in prison since 2002 on a robbery conviction out of Georgetown, but affidavits said he was living in the Summerville area at the time of the 1987 crimes.

In addition to the charges against Rigby, Sheriff Ray Nash said investigators have identified and will be filing charges against another suspect in unsolved rapes during the late 1980s. That suspect also is in prison, but Nash wouldn't release any other details. There is no connection between Rigby and the second suspect, he said.

Rigby was interviewed 21 years ago, but there wasn't enough evidence to make a case against him, Nash said. Since that time, a database of DNA profiles of convicted felons has been implemented, allowing "cold" cases to be analyzed.

Affidavits state that DNA recovered from evidence in the 1987 cases matches Rigby's DNA profile, although that's not the only evidence investigators have, sheriff's Lt. John Garrison said.

Garrison said he has spoken to some of the victims, whose reactions to the arrest have ranged from "nonchalant to absolute hysteria." Investigators will move forward, even if a victim has died, he said. "They, their families, deserve as much justice as anybody else."

If convicted, Rigby would be sentenced as state law provided in 1987, Pascoe said. That's a maximum of 30 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which Pascoe said would be parole eligible, and life for kidnapping.