An Anchorage superior court judge has dismissed felony charges in a 2018 case against a convicted serial rapist. 

Thomas Warren, 61, was arrested on July 19, 2018. Observant neighbors called 911 after they saw him acting suspiciously, putting on gloves and entering the property of a woman who lived alone. 

The incident quickly became much more than a case of an alleged neighborhood prowler when Warren was identified as a serial rapist. 

According to court documents, Warren raped multiple women during the 1980s. He was known to break into their homes and wait for them to return. In at least one assault, he used cord or twine to restrain the victim. [...]

Court records show Warren made no-contest pleas in the rapes of three different women in 1987, as well as an escape charge, for a sentence of 40 years.

One court document summarizing Warren's previous case says, "In exchange, the State dropped a number of charges, including kidnapping and the robbery charges, and agreed that it would not charge Warren in connection with nine other sexual assaults."

When confronted by police at the woman's Chester Creek area home, Warren was found to be carrying a 3-foot length of coiled rope. He said he planned to use it as a belt, but he was wearing pants that did not have belt loops.

Anchorage Police arrest Thomas Warren, 60, on July 19, 2018. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

In November 2018, an Anchorage grand jury indicted Warren on one count of first-degree attempted sexual assault and a felony count of burglary. 

In May, Assistant Public Defender Shana Bachman filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. She argued that while the door to the woman's home was found ajar and Warren was caught standing in her backyard, the state had not proved Warren entered the home and, therefore, the burglary charge must be dismissed. As for the attempted sexual assault charge, Bachman argued key evidence used to secure the indictment — Warren's prior convictions — was not properly admitted, according to Alaska's evidence rules. 

Assistant District Attorney Michael Ebell, who is prosecuting the case, argued the prior convictions were admitted in accordance with Alaska evidence rules and that the grand jury was properly instructed on how to consider the evidence. He also argued the fact that Warren was carrying a rope and on the woman's property represents a "substantial step" toward sexual assault.  

This month, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Catherine Easter sided with the defense, granting the motion to dismiss the indictment against Warren. 

Ebell filed a motion Tuesday asking the court to reconsider. 

"We're considering whether or not to return to grand jury to pursue a second indictment," he said in an interview. "Before we can make that determination, we filed a motion to reconsider in order to get some clarification from the court so that if we do return to grand jury, we can address any of the issues that were raised in the motion to dismiss, correct them a second time if it's possible to correct them, and we'll have to make that determination after the court rules on the motion for reconsideration." 

Thomas Warren, 60, appears in Anchorage's Jail Court for a bail hearing on July 26, 2018. (Photo Credit: KTVA Photojournalist Jared Mazurek)

Ebell said cases involving attempted crimes are difficult to prove, but even if the state is not able to seek a new indictment on felony charges, it will pursue a misdemeanor trespassing charge. 

"This case is gonna go forward regardless of this order," he explained. "The order stands and even if we make the determination that we're unable to return to grand jury, this case would proceed as a criminal trespass, in kind of the worst case scenario from our perspective, but that certainly Mr. Warren was trespassing in this situation and we will proceed with criminal charges for trespass either in the first or second degree." 

If the state is able to prove Warren trespassed in the woman's backyard, he would be sentenced under the law in place at the time of the offense, which was Senate Bill 91, and face a maximum sentence of 10 days, according to Ebell. 

"We would still pursue that case in order to make the picture clear for the parole board in their review as to someone who committed a new crime while they were on parole versus someone who was arrested and released and never convicted of a new crime," he said. 

Warren was out of custody on mandatory parole in the summer of 2018. He is currently in custody under a parole hold, according to Ebell, which means the parole board will review his case again. 

Bachman declined to comment on behalf of Warren Wednesday, citing a policy against discussing pending cases. 

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