Richmond Times-Dispatch

Brutal assault, mistaken identity
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The assault took place at night on the lonely Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson County on June 23, 1984.

The 19-year-old victim and her 22-year-old fiancé, both from Newport News, were on a trip to Crabtree Falls, a popular tourist spot in the rural county southwest of Charlottesville. The couple, new to the area, got lost and decided to park their 1975 Plymouth Valiant at the Big Spy overlook and sleep in the car. They locked the car doors.

About 2 in the morning, they were awakened by a man who was rapping on the car window. He said he was a police officer. The two got out of the car at the man's insistence. He held a flashlight and a handgun, which was pointed directly at them.

He was dressed in camouflage pants and jacket. The man, who had a holster on his left side, pointed the gun at the victim's fiancé and told him to run away. Then he took the victim into his car - a light-colored Blazer - and drove a short distance away to a dirt road where he raped and sodomized the woman repeatedly. He drank liquor and smoked marijuana. At one point, he threatened to kill her but instead released the victim near her car several hours later.

"He told me I didn't know what scared was," the victim testified during Edward Honaker's 1985 trial. "That he had been scared and was in Vietnam. He said he shot people and had seen his buddies shot."

The victim also testified that the rapist said, "The government owed him, and it was all because of Lieutenant Kolackey, and it was all their fault, and they owed him, and he was going to get them back."

Honaker was arrested based on a sketch drawn from information given by the victim and her fiancé. Honaker also drove a light-colored Blazer. The jury took two hours to mistakenly find him guilty of seven counts of sodomy and rape.

Kenneth Farrar, Honaker's defense lawyer at the trial, spoke some prophetic words to the jury: "Folks, everybody is human, everybody is subject to making mistakes. A mistaken identity is what we are talking about here today." - Carlos Santos

Eyewitness ID
Truth in Justice