Accused Virginia Beach cold-case rapist’s past convictions include sexual battery of minor, murder and robbery

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Julian Romero is accused of rape and abduction in a 1988 Virginia Beach cold-case. (Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Julian Romero is accused of rape and abduction in a 1988 Virginia Beach cold-case. (Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

A man currently accused of a 1988 Virginia Beach cold-case rape was convicted of murder, robbery and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl decades ago, according to court documents.

Julian Romero, 54,  pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 1997 to sexually assaulting a 9-year-old Virginia Beach girl while she was sleeping. Police say the girl was “distraught and crying” when she told her grandmother that she woke up on June 26, 1996 with Romero on top of her touching her, according to documents filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court

Romero was arrested on March 31, 1997 after fleeing to North Carolina. He was sentenced to six years in prison with two years and four months suspended.

In 1989 Romero was also convicted of murder and robbery by a Virginia Beach judge. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended, court documents state.

No other information is available about Romero’s murder and robbery charges because the Virginia Beach Circuit Court does not keep felony record files for more than 20 years.

Romero is currently charged with rape and abduction with intent to defile after police say he sexually assaulted a victim in the 800 block of 24th Street on May 24, 1988. The victim didn’t know the rapist at the time of the incident, Virginia Beach Police Department Master Police Officer Linda Kuehn wrote in an email.

The case was reopened in 2014 by Virginia Beach Police Department cold-case detectives, who filed charges against Romero. He was indicted by a grand jury on Dec. 1, 2014, and extradited on Nov. 8 to the Virginia Beach Correctional Center from Maury Correctional Center, located in Hookerton, N.C.

Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612. 

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.