DNA evidence exonerates accused Provo rapist

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PROVO — Utah County prosecutors have dropped charges against a man accused of attempted rape after DNA evidence exonerated him.

Geoffrey Mapother, 19, was arrested and charged in an attack on an 18-year-old woman Feb. 19 at the Branbury Apartments in Provo, 425 W. 1720 North, the same complex where a woman was raped and left for dead last June.

Geoffrey Mapother
Geoffrey Mapother

According to prosecutor Craig Johnson, Mapother's DNA profile was not one of the two found on the bottom of the victim's stiletto heel. She told police she kicked the naked man who assaulted her as she returned home after a night out with friends.

Johnson filed a motion to dismiss charges of attempted rape and trespassing on Thursday as soon as he heard from the state crime lab. Fourth District Judge Claudia Laycock granted the motion Friday.

"Mr. Mapother is cleared of all charges in this case and should carry no more stigma associated with this," Johnson said.

Mapother was still being held in the Utah County Jail late Friday morning pending the processing of his release.

Johnson said police do not have any other strong suspects in the case. He said Mapother's alibi — that he was taking a two-hour shower in a pool clubhouse at the complex — only added to investigators' belief that they had probable cause to arrest him.

"Obviously, the DNA speaks for itself," Johnson said. "I'm out to get the guy who did this to the girl. … We're hopeful we can solve this crime."

He added that Branbury residents are extremely upset, having thought the woman's attacker was behind bars.

People who live at the Branbury Apartments say they don't live in fear, but the crimes definitely have them thinking about their own safety.

Obviously, the DNA speaks for itself. I'm out to get the guy who did this to the girl. … We're hopeful we can solve this crime.

–Craig Johnson

Safety is top of mind for Toni Sisco, who moved in to the Branbury Apartments in February just after the attempted rape.

"I do watch to make sure who's walking and if I'm uncomfortable, then I definitely keep something that may protect me on hand," she said.

A can of pepper spray that Sisco got at a church function hangs on her key chain.

"They told us if we're going to be out late by ourselves, they suggested we have this on us," she said.

Last June, a woman was strangled, raped and beaten on the Provo River Trail adjacent to the complex. Shawn Leonard, 34, pleaded not guilty in March to attempted aggravated murder in that case.

But the accused rapist in this case is still out there.

Alyson Kropp, who also lives in the apartment complex, says she still feels safe at the complex -- but she doesn't take it for granted.

"This is an all-girls only building. We look out for each other and send tips out on the internet," she said.


Story written with contributions from Paul Koepp and Sandra Yi.

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