Virginia man, who raped a teenager and a young mother in 1991, sentenced to life in prison

A Virginia man has been sentenced to life in prison plus 56 years for raping several women in 1991. 

On Friday, 65-year-old Michael F. Thomson of Montross, VA pled guilty to all charges in the Arlington County Circuit Court. He received his sentence from Judge Louise DiMatteo, who imposed a sentence of life in prison on one count of rape, 50 years on a second count of rape, 10 years with eight suspended on one count of attempted rape, and two years each on two counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of the rapes. 

"Every member of our community should be able to safely walk home without fear of violent attacks like those committed by Michael Thomson," said Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn. "While nothing can fully restore his survivors’ sense of security, I hope this sentence serves as a powerful message that we will not waiver in our pursuit to hold sexual predators accountable for their actions. This case is another great example of the dedicated efforts of our Cold Case Unit to continue to use all available resources until the offender is brought to justice, no matter how much time has passed."


According to Arlington County Police, between January and December 1991, investigators looked into multiple reports of rapes and attempted rapes involving female victims walking from the East Falls Church Metro Station. 

In each reported incident, the victims were approached by an unknown male who flashed a firearm. 

At the time, authorities linked three cases together by DNA evidence and a fourth case was investigated as part of the series due to similarities with the other cases.

In 2017, Arlington County's Cold Case Unit decided to revisit these unsolved cases. The department said DNA was resubmitted for additional analysis – including phenotyping and genetic genealogy. 

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The results brought forth additional information that led detectives to identify Michael F. Thomson as a possible suspect in the 1991 incidents. 

On the morning of December 1, 2020, Arlington County police arrested Thomson at his residence, and he has remained in custody in the Arlington County Detention Facility ever since.

"Our office is grateful that ACPD committed expertise, dedication, and resources to this cold case and provided us with the tools to prosecute it," said Commonwealth's Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. "The survivors of Michael Thomson's crimes included a teenager and a young mother of two. Thirty years is a long time for them to wait for justice, but I hope his sentencing brings them a measure of peace."