NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 20, 2011

Arrest made in 1988 unsolved rape

Victim dumped in Hampton, NH

By Jill Harmacinskil
Correspondent

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SALEM, Mass. - A California inmate currently serving two life sentences for murder was brought to Massachusetts and arraigned this morning in Salem Superior Court in a rape and kidnapping case that occurred on River Road in Andover exactly 23 years ago today.

Valentine Underwood, 49, is a former Marine and is also affiliated with the Black Panthers and Black Prisoners Association in California.

Underwood, who is 6-feet 9-inches tall, was escorted into the Salem courtroom by about a dozen guards all wearing bullet-proof vests.

Judge Howard Whitehead ordered Underwood held without bail on aggravated rape and kidnapping charges.

Police were able to tie Underwood to the crime 23 years later using his DNA information which is kept in a nationwide databank.

On May 20, 1988, Underwood is accused of forcing the car of the then -24-year-old victim off River Road. After punching her in the face, he dragged her into his car at knifepoint and repeatedly brutalized and raped her as they drove toward Hampton, N.H., Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said in court today.

He stabbed her in the liver, the knife breaking off into her body, and then dumped her in a watery ditch in Hampton. A good Samaritan stopped and helped her.

The victim identified Underwood recently from a New York state booking photo taken two weeks after her attack in Andover.

Underwood is serving two life sentences in California for the rape and murder of Mandi Scott, 15, and Rosalie Ortega, 20, in California in August 1991.

Underwood was in the Marines and considered a military basketball star when he raped and killed Scott and Ortega.

It was later revealed, before he was sentenced in 1997, that he was convicted of two previous rapes before he was allowed into the Marines.

In 1991, police recovered a bloody handprint and DNA evidence which linked Underwood to unsolved crimes — one of them in Andover.

Underwood is due back in court on June 17. He was transported from California to Superior Court by U.S. Marshals.