Arrest Made in Norristown Farm Park Sexual Assault
Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Today, Montgomery County District Attorney's Office announced they have arrested 19-year-old Mason Hall in connection to the highly publicized August 1, 2017 gunpoint sexual assault which took place in Norristown Farm Park.
On the morning of August 1, 2017, a female was jogging along the popular path when an attacker came up from behind wearing a hooded sweatshirt (even though the temperature was in the 90's) dragged the victim off the path and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint. Due to the clothing, the detectives had a little physical description to go on but they did recover the attacker's DNA.
An immense 2-year police investigation took place which leads to the identification of Norristown resident Mason Hall, who resided just 1.4 miles from the crime scene. According to the press release "Hall’s arrest comes 27 months after the attack. In that time, a joint investigation by West Norriton Police and Montgomery County Detectives left no stone unturned. Immediately following the attack, officers canvassed the park, brought in a tracking dog, scoured surveillance video from the park’s surrounding area and submitted the recovered DNA to law enforcement databases of individuals arrested for sexual offenses as well as other crimes. The District Attorney’s Office offered a $10,000 reward and, that fall submitted the perpetrator’s DNA to Parabon NanoLabs for phenotyping analysis. Parabon then produced a composite illustration—like a high-tech police artist’s sketch—of what the perpetrator could look like, based on his DNA profile, which was found to be 52 percent European and 45 percent African. The reward and illustration generated multiple tips but none led to the perpetrator."
The press release continues "Following the generation of the DNA profile, detectives then began looking at familial DNA, or partial matches to the perpetrator’s DNA along with a specific number of critical markers. As a result, detectives identified distant relatives of the attacker, and a number of these relatives were interviewed. Eventually over the course of 22 months, with final assistance by the FBI, investigators developed two local suspects, one of whom was ruled out based on the description from the victim.
Detectives recently learned that the suspect had been involved in an incident in September 2017 where the Norristown Police recovered a bloody hammer, which had been preserved as evidence. On Sept. 27, 2019, Montgomery County Detectives retrieved the bloody hammer from the Norristown Police evidence room and submitted it to the Philadelphia Police Office of Forensic Science, which determined the DNA matched the perpetrator."
Hall was arrested at his home, arraigned on one million dollars bail and was remanded to Montgomery County Correctional Facility while he awaits trial. Charges include Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Sexual Assault, Terroristic Threats, Unlawful Restraint, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, and Possession of a Firearm by a Minor (Hall was only 17 at the time of the crime).
You can read the entire press release and follow the Montgomery County District Attorney's office here.