Accused ‘Potomac River Rapist’ pleads not guilty; trial set for next year

The man suspected in a long string of brutal attacks on women in the 1990s made his first appearance in a courtroom since his indictment on murder charges earlier this month.

Wearing an orange jump suit in front of a nearly empty courtroom, 61-year-old Giles Warrick said nothing more than his name at the outset of a brief hearing.

Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Warrick on charges of first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree premeditated murder while armed in the 1998 killing of 28-year-old Christine Mirzayan.

His attorney quickly pleaded not guilty to those new charges on Warrick’s behalf.

Warrick is accused of being the man once-dubbed the “Potomac River Rapist.”

Police in D.C. and Maryland both say he’s responsible for several attacks on women throughout the 1990s, including the death of Mirzayan, who was abducted along a Georgetown street, sexually assaulted and then killed with a 73-pound rock.

Police used DNA evidence and genealogy databases to connect Warrick to the crimes, leading to his arrest in South Carolina in 2019.

During the status hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Monday, Warrick’s attorney, Stephen Mercer, hinted at plans for a motion that will be filed by February which he indicated could eventually lead to the dismissal of the charges. He didn’t elaborate about what the motion would contain, and it’s likely the issue will be resolved one way or the other by next spring.

If the judge rules against the defense in the matter, the case is set to go to trial at the end of 2022, with jury selection beginning right after Thanksgiving and opening arguments getting underway in early December 2022.

It’s estimated the trial would take up to two weeks.

On top of the murder charges Warrick is facing in the District, prosecutors in Montgomery County, Maryland, have also charged Warrick with six counts of first-degree rape in several attacks throughout the 1990s.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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