Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Former St. Petersburg Realtor testifies against man accused of attacking her in 2006

LARGO — The crime drew national attention at the height of the housing boom, when everyone seemed to be buying and selling, and real estate agents scrambled to keep up.

St. Petersburg Realtor Julie Roberts was lured into a home in 2006 by a man who claimed to be house-hunting. Instead he attacked her and robbed her of credit cards and jewelry.

Nearly six years passed as the armed robbery and battery case against James Parcher meandered through the legal system.

But on Wednesday, after her long and frustrating wait, Roberts finally got the chance to tell a jury how her attacker hit her "so hard it made me see stars and I came right out of my shoes."

It started in March 2006, when Roberts, then with Century 21, got a call from a man who said he had just come into an inheritance and wanted to look at houses. And he said he wanted to see vacant homes — so he could move in more quickly, he said.

The man said his name was Craig, but authorities say it really was James Parcher, now 32.

Roberts showed him five houses in St. Petersburg. In a bedroom in the fifth house, in the 1200 block of 14th Street N, the man attacked her from behind by hitting her in the head with a pistol, she said.

She took "two lunging steps forward and fell, pretty much on my nose, all the way across the room," she testified Wednesday

He put his knee on her back, pulled her hands behind her and cuffed her with plastic ties. In the process, her elbow was fractured. Meanwhile he told her in a matter-of-fact voice, "be quiet or I'm going to kill you, don't say anything or I'll shoot you," she said.

"I asked him if this was a rape, a robbery or a murder," Roberts testified. He told her it was a robbery, and she saw that he had both a gun and what looked like a hunting knife. He took about $7,000 in jewelry, she said.

Eventually, he left. She jumped out a bedroom window and ran to a neighboring house.

Parcher's attorney, Ben DeBerg, asked questions about her identification of Parcher as the attacker. But under questioning by Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser, she said that after spending four hours with the man, there was no doubt it was Parcher who attacked her. The attack took about 15 minutes, and "15 minutes is a long time to be terrified," she said.

Parcher was arrested after using Roberts' ATM card in Tampa, according to police.

Part of the reason this 2006 case took so long to come to trial was that Parcher was represented by attorneys from the publicly financed Regional Office of Conflict Counsel, during a time of high turnover, so his case went from lawyer to lawyer to lawyer. Then he began representing himself and filed several motions on his own behalf, which stretched the proceedings even longer.

During the trial, Parcher has been represented by DeBerg, for the Regional Counsel's office.

Roberts said she has gotten out of real estate and now works for an airline.

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or [email protected]

Comments

Temple Terrace applauds progress on downtown project

TEMPLE TERRACE — A round of applause from the audience followed the recent vote by the Temple Terrace City Council to negotiate a contract with a company that plans to build and manage luxury apartments in the long-idle downtown redevelopment area.Th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida Highway Patrol troopers are looking for a driver who hit and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist then drove from the scene.Shawn Michael Grady, of New Port Richey, was biking south on Rowan Road south of Massachusetts Avenue abou...
Updated: 3 hours ago
FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

HUDSON — A 30-year-old man died after he was struck by a car and thrown off the motorcycle he was riding.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Derek Fingerle, of Hudson, was traveling south on U.S. 19 in the center lane about 8:20 p.m. Saturday. M...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its trek north-northeast overnight and is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast late Monday.The storm was about 85 miles north of the Dry Tortugas as of Sunday morning, producing winds up to 40 mph a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18
Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman shot and killed her husband Saturday because he punched her father and wouldn’t say sorry, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 40, faces a first-degree murder charge in th...
Published: 05/26/18
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Published: 05/26/18