Hennepin County jury convicts James Andrew Works in first jury trial from Sexual Assault Kit Initiative
A Hennepin County jury convicted James Andrew Works in the first trial to come from the joint partnership of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, Minneapolis Police Department, Sexual Violence Center, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension aimed at solving old sexual assault cases. The Minneapolis Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) was launched in 2020 to test previously untested sexual assault kits from the Minneapolis Police Department. To date, four cases have been charged. After a two week trial, the jury convicted Works on Friday afternoon, March 31, on both counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and both counts of Kidnapping.
“Victims deserve justice and our community needs to know that we will not let those who commit these crimes to go without accountability,” Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said. “We are prioritizing this work and I am grateful for the partnership and work of MPD and BCA, along with our staff who worked on this case. I hope the victims in this case feel some sense of relief after these verdicts.”
In June 2010, the two victims in this case were approached by an unknown male, later identified as Works, with a gun. Works directed them to a secluded location behind a garage and nearby park where he sexually assaulted them. While the case was initially investigated, the forensic testing of the sexual assault kits was not completed after the investigator in the case lost contact with the victims. The BCA moved forward with testing in 2021, as part of ongoing efforts to investigate previously untested sexual assault kits. The DNA profile from the kits matched James Works. Both victims later identified Works in a photo as the person who had raped them. The jury was also allowed to hear evidence from two other women who testified they were sexually assaulted by Works in 2008.
SAKI is a nation-wide project that addresses the accumulation of untested sexual assault kits.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for April 27, 2023.
James Works Criminal Complaint (PDF)