UA Rape Suspect Makes First Court Appearance

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A Springdale man accused of a rape on the University of Arkansas campus after a football game last year made his first court appearance on Wednesday (Aug. 28).

Cesar Michael Figueroa, 22, appeared at an 8.1 hearing before Magistrate Judge Ray Reynolds at the Washington County Detention Center. At 8.1 hearings, jailed suspects are told why they are being held.

At the hearing Wednesday, Figueroa also was ordered to appear in the same small courtroom at the Detention Center again on Sept. 27 for an arraignment. At arraignments, suspects are read the formal charges against them and then enter a plea.

Figueroa was arrested Aug. 26 in connection to a 2012 rape on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, according to a preliminary report.

He was booked into the Washington County Detention Center and faces a felony rape charge. His bond has been set at $50,000.

Police say Figueroa had been convicted of an earlier crime and placed on probation. Part of the probation required him to submit a DNA sample to the state, which was entered into the Arkansas State Crime Lab’s system.

The crime lab notified police on Aug. 19 that an individual matching the profile of the DNA sample taken after the assault had been identified, officials said.

“Collecting evidence made all the difference in the world,” University of Arkansas Police Department Lt. Gary Crain said. “If that evidence had not been collected and this profile had never been entered into the computer, then this crime may have gone unsolved.”

Figueroa confessed to sexually assaulting a woman in a campus parking lot off of Gregg Street on Sept. 2, according to police.

University police responded to the parking lot just after midnight on Sept. 2. The victim told police a man came up behind her and shoved her to the ground. He held her there, ripped off her underwear and raped her, according to a police report. The suspect then ran off.

Figueroa pleaded guilty in June to stealing money from his workplace at Fayetteville District Court, where he had been fired the previous November, according to court documents. He received a four-year probation sentence after pleading guilty to felony theft of property.

Police said Figueroa deleted 24 paid citations from the District Court computer system and pocketed the money for himself. The value of the deleted citations totaled $2,983, according to court documents.

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