A man accused of ambushing a woman walking home from work late at night in St. Cloud and raping her was caught in Illinois nearly four months later because his fingerprints were found on her cellphone. He had apparently stopped her from using it to call for help, authorities said.
Xavier L. Phillips-Freeman, 24, of Waite Park, Minn., was charged Monday in Stearns County District Court with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the rape of the 33-year-old woman on Sept. 26 near the County Administration Building. He remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail with conditions.
A key piece of evidence that led authorities to Phillips-Freeman proved to be the woman’s cellphone, which she tried to use while struggling to free herself, according to the criminal complaint.
When Phillips-Freeman saw the phone, he threw it and punched her in the face, the complaint read. Officers found it, recovered two fingerprints and turned up a match to Phillips-Freeman in a Midwest law enforcement database, the complaint added.
Phillips-Freeman’s DNA retrieved from the victim also proved to be a match when compared with DNA in Minnesota’s convicted offender database. His criminal history in the state includes convictions for theft and drug possession.
Phillips-Freeman was arrested on Jan. 26 in Zion, in the far northeast corner of Illinois. Authorities have not said how they knew he was there.