Crime

Ocean Springs bridge rape suspect’s DNA was collected after Utah arrest on different charges

WAVE - Women Against Violence Everywhere - has held walks and awareness vigils and is helping the city push for security cameras on the Biloxi Bay Bridge after a woman was raped there last year.
WAVE - Women Against Violence Everywhere - has held walks and awareness vigils and is helping the city push for security cameras on the Biloxi Bay Bridge after a woman was raped there last year. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

A Utah man arrested in the 2014 rape on the Biloxi Bay Bridge was first arrested in May when officers with Utah County’s Major Crimes Task Force descended on his home armed with a search warrant.

Inside the home in American Fork City, Utah, authorities found 26 grams of meth, drug paraphernalia and a Hi-Point .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, said Utah Task Force spokesperson Katie Hawker.

The seizure led to the May 9 arrest of alleged rapist Aaron Roy McMillian, 34, of American Fork City, Utah, on misdemeanor charges of possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and a felony charge of unlawful purchase or transfer of a dangerous weapon.

At the time of the arrest, Hawker said, McMillan wasn’t working, saying instead he was doing odd jobs, mostly involving car repairs, to make money.

After his arrest on those charges as well as a felony drug charge, authorities collected a DNA sample from McMillan. Utah passed a law in 2014 allowing DNA samples to be collected after felony arrests.

Admission during interview

Last month, officials at the Mississippi State Crime lab called Ocean Springs police to say McMillian’s DNA matched a DNA sample collected from alleged victim of the Nov. 14, 2014, rape on the Biloxi Bay Bridge.

Ocean Springs Police Capt. William “Chuck” Jackson said police obtained a warrant for McMillian’s arrest on a rape charge and drove to Utah to speak with him in October.

During the questioning, Jackson said, McMillian admitted having sex with the woman.

Jackson would not elaborate any further, saying the case remained under investigation.

McMillian is in custody in the Utah County Jail near Salt Lake City on the charges from May and October for the felony drug and gun charge as well as a misdemeanor charge of intentional criminal mischief. He also has two pending traffic violations.

For now, McMillian remains jailed in Utah pending extradition proceedings to have him to returned to Mississippi to face the rape charge here.

At the time of the alleged attack on the bridge, McMillan was living with a relative at East Acres mobile home park on U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs. He was married then, but Jackson said police are not sure whether he was living with his wife or another relative then.

‘Proud of her bravery’

Among those who are happy to hear a suspect in the rape is in custody are members of WAVE - Women Against Violence Everywhere.

The group formed after the assault and raised money to have security cameras installed on the bridge.

“As community members, we are relieved to know there’s a suspect in custody,” said one of WAVE’s founder, Heather Dennison. “Our thoughts and prayers have continued for the victim and we’re so proud of her bravery by coming forward with her attack in 2014.

“Its very encouraging to know that our local law enforcement never gave up on this case and continued to diligently pursue justice for the victim.”

Women's group receives check to meet their $10,000 goal to put security cameras on the Biloxi Bay Bridge walking path.

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