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Bobby Lee Black III convicted in 2007 rape and battery on Zephyrhills woman

DADE CITY — The 66-year-old woman was awakened in her home, threatened with a knife and raped twice.

The odds that the rape was committed by anyone other than Bobby Lee Black III, according to a crime analyst: 1 in 330 trillion.

Black, 20, went on trial this week in the 2007 attack in Zephyrhills. And on Wednesday, a jury presented with the overwhelming DNA evidence took just 45 minutes to convict him of home invasion robbery, two counts of sexual battery and battery on a person over 65.

Black, 20, showed no reaction when the verdict was read. His mother cried silently.

His sentencing was delayed until next month, although his convictions carry only one possible sentence: life in prison.

Prosecutors said Black and his friend Jathniel McMichael were at a party two years ago when they decided to go out for a ride. Another friend, Andre Brathwaite, drove.

Brathwaite, who is in custody on pending charges in this case, testified that Black told him to pull over at one point and wait in a church parking lot. When Black and McMichael returned about 20 minutes later, Brathwaite testified, they bragged that they'd "hit a lick" — robbed someone.

The victim, who is 68 now, described the horror of those 20 minutes.

She said she awoke to find one man straddling her, holding a blade to her throat and demanding money. The attackers dragged her out of her bed and into the living room, where one of them forced her to perform oral sex.

"The next thing I knew, I was jumped on by the other one," the woman said.

After that man raped her, the first attacker — whom prosecutors say was Black — did it again.

A second woman, who was attacked a few weeks later, also testified about her ordeal. Like the first victim, she was home alone in a mobile home park when two men, wearing hoods and masks, barged in. She too was raped and robbed.

Black and McMichael are also charged in that case. Black's next trial is set for September; McMichael's is delayed while he appeals other charges.

The prosecution Wednesday hammered on a specific piece of evidence, semen recovered from the victim in the first attack that matched a sample of Black's DNA.

An analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement placed the chances at 1 in 330 trillion that the DNA left on the victim was from anyone other than Black.

Black did not take the stand in his defense. His public defenders sought to convince the jury that DNA evidence is not foolproof, that there's always room for error, and therefore reasonable doubt.

But Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia said the evidence left no doubt at all.

"The bottom line is, it's Bobby Lee Black," Garcia told jurors in his closing argument.

"On March 1, 2007, he broke into (the victim's) residence armed with a knife, he sexually assaulted her not once but twice, and before he left he kicked her in the face. He is guilty."

After the verdict, Garcia hugged both of the victims. Then they hugged each other.

Bobby Lee Black III convicted in 2007 rape and battery on Zephyrhills woman 04/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 9:12pm]
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