This story was updated on May 29, 2012.
A Florida man was found guilty late Friday of three counts of first-degree rape and seven related charges in Montgomery County Circuit Court, closing the first stage of a 34-year-old rape case.
Christopher Michael Chamblin, 49, was also found guilty of five counts of first-degree sex offense and one count each of second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense, said Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Debbie Feinstein.
“The bottom line is he was convicted on all the lead counts in the case,” Feinstein said.
Chamblin’s attorney, county Assistant Public Defender Alan Drew, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Chamblin, accused of raping two sisters in Silver Spring, took the stand before closing arguments Friday to deny any relationship with the victims. The sisters, now in their 40s, testified at trial that, from 1978 to about 1980, Chamblin, then in his teens, would coerce them into his house with snacks and television to sexually abuse and rape them. Chamblin lived with his parents next door to the sisters at the time.
The older sister took the stand May 21, telling the jury that the abuse took place as often as once a week and led to Chamblin threatening to kill the girls' family if they told the police.
"She felt crushed; she was terrified," Feinstein said, summarizing the victim's testimony during closing arguments Friday. "And during the course of that event, [Chamblin] threatened her, he said 'If you tell anybody about this I will kill your brother,' and that was a threat he would repeat over and over."
Drew asked the jury to review the facts presented at trial, reminding them that no physical evidence exists to link his client to any crime.
"I think that they believe what they're saying. I don't think they're liars," Drew said of the victims during his closing remarks. "They need someone to punish, they want somebody to pay ... [but] what this case boils down to is human memory, and there are very few of us who have photographic memories, who can remember all the details."
During her cross-examination of Chamblin, Assistant State's Attorney Dana Kaplan played a recording of a phone call between Chamblin and his wife for the jury. In the call, which was recorded after Chamblin was arrested March 11, 2011, Chamblin's wife mentions the prosecution's lack of DNA evidence before Chamblin ends the conversation.
"We live in a CSI world," Chamblin said of his apparent concern in the phone recording. "I didn't want to discuss it in any way shape or form."
Chamblin would have been between 14 and 17 years old during the time police say the rapes occurred, while the sisters would have been from 4 to 5 and 6 to 7 years old, respectively.
Chamblin was arrested at his home in Davie, Fla., shortly after the younger sister began seeing a psychiatrist to help her connect with her own daughter and the history of abuse came to light, Feinstein said.
Both victims tried to approach the police in the past, but, because they were still frightened and ashamed of what happened, they omitted details and no charges were made, Feinstein said.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in this case justice has been delayed for 30 years," she said in her closing. "Justice should be delayed no longer."
After his convictions Friday, a sentencing hearing was scheduled for Aug. 22, Feinstein said.
A trial to determine Chamblin's guilt in third-degree sex offenses and the child abuse charge is scheduled to begin June 13, according to court documents.