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October 21, 2019

Teen charged in 2017 sexual assault at Norristown Farm Park

Investigations Sexual Assaults
Mason Hall norristown farm park Source/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Mason Hall, 19, is charged with sexual assault in the rape of a woman who was jogging at Norristown Farm Park on Aug. 1, 2017. Investigators said DNA evidence lead to Hall's arrest more than two years after the alleged attack occurred.

More than two years after a woman was sexually assaulted at gunpoint at Norristown Farm Park, prosecutors have charged a 19-year-old man in the armed attack.

Mason Hall, 19, was charged last week with sexual assault, terroristic threats and related offenses in the Aug. 1, 2017 incident.

Late that morning, police received a call from a woman who said she was attacked from behind while jogging at the park at 2500 Upper Farm Road. The vicim, 19 at the time, told authorities she was led to a pasture by a masked man who wore a dark hooded sweatshirt.

A criminal affidavit includes harrowing testimony from the victim, who said she offered her attacker her car keys and her money to spare her life.

"Keep walking or I'll shoot you. Don't think I won't," Hall allegedly told the woman.

Hall, who was 17 years old at the time, allegedly told the woman to take off her pants, lay down and shut up, according to the criminal complaint.

"Please promise me when you are done you will not shoot me," the woman implored her attacker, who agreed and fled the scene after sexually assaulting her, police said.

In January 2018, after ruling out dozens of suspects, authorities released a phenotype DNA snapshot of the suspect using evidence collected from the scene.

DNA PhenotypingSource/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

DNA-generated phenotype Snapshot of suspect in gunpoint rape at Norristown Farm Park on Aug. 1, 2017.

Investigators got a break in September of this year when they obtained DNA evidence from a separate incident that they linked to Hall, which occurred in September 2017. Authorities had recovered a bloody hammer that Hall allegedly admitted using to smash the headlight of a vehicle.

That DNA evidence was reviewed last week by the Philadelphia Police Department Office of Forensic Science Laboratory, which deemed the two samples a match.

"Since we had our attacker's DNA, we always knew who he was, but it took 27 months of hi-tech scientific efforts and thousands of hours of old-fashioned police work to track down the violent criminal and make this arrest," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said

Hall was arraigned Oct. 18 and bail was set at $1 million, which he failed to post. He remains held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility ahead of an Oct. 25 hearing.