TAMPA, FL - September 23, 2020 - According to an online news report posted on FOX 13, the Tampa Police Department announced a suspect's arrest in a 20-year-old unsolved armed burglary and rape case. According to the Tampa Police Department, the incident occurred back in December of 2000. A woman returned to her house, where she lived with her sister. Upon entering her home, the woman was attacked by a burglar inside her home. The woman told law enforcement that the intruder covered his face up to his eyes. The burglar then pointed a pistol at her and demanded that she stepped inside the house and shut the door. The victim stated that the suspect ordered her to undress, and he sexually assaulted and battered her.
The suspect then told the woman to stay in her bathroom as he escaped. The suspect was described by the victim as a black male who was in his twenties. A rape kit was then used to collect DNA and evidence, which was then uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). However, there was no match, according to police.
The suspect was apprehended back on July 7, 2001, on a different criminal matter. According to Tampa Police, an officer tried to pull over the suspect for a simple traffic violation. The suspect ran away from the officers after he was pulled over. The suspect left behind a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. The pistol was seized, and the suspect was placed under arrest and processed. As investigators questioned the suspect, the suspect stated that he owned the handgun for around two years. Tampa Police stated that the suspect was about to turn 20-years-old at the time of this arrest.
A latent fingerprint expert for the Tampa Police re-analyzed fingerprints that were obtained during the armed burglary and rape investigation back in December 2020. The fingerprints were entered into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) back in January 2020.
According to Tampa Police, the two right palm prints taken from the victim's bathroom, where the rape occurred, matched the suspect according to the Offender Based Tracking System )OBTS)number. The Offender Based Tracking System number corresponded to the suspect's booking records Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office booking record. The suspect's statements back in 2001 regarding owning the firearm during the same time as the home invasion and rape further led police to conclude the man committed the armed burglary and rape.
The Tampa Police investigators asked the victim and her sister if they knew the suspect, and neither woman had an explanation for why the suspect's palm prints would be inside their home. However, the victim stated that back in 2014, a man with the name matching the suspect sent her a terrifying Facebook message. She forwarded the message to law enforcement. The woman reiterated that she did not know the man or that she ever met the man. She stated that she couldn't understand why the man sent her a Facebook message. The police stated that her responses to the man showed that she did not know the man. The photo of the man on Facebook looked like the suspect matching the palm prints on the victim's bathtub.
On July 2, 2020, Tampa Police detectives proceeded to where the suspect lived and served the suspect with a search warrant to perform a buccal swab to collect the suspect's DNA. The Tampa Police detectives interviewed the suspect, and the suspect stated that he was inside the victim's home, and he stated that he did not know the victim or that he recognized the victim. The suspect stated that his hair, DNA, and fingerprints shouldn't be found inside the victim's home.
In September of 2020, the DNA lab report from FDLE regarding the buccal swab of the suspect was received by the Tampa Police. The DNA lab report concluded that there was a match between the buccal swab collected in July of 2020 and the DNA collected from the victim in 2000.
On September 8, 2020, the suspect was arrested and charged armed burglary of a dwelling and armed sexual battery.