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Hernando jurors hear tale of horror before they decide George Olmo's fate

BROOKSVILLE — Five days before George Olmo allegedly took his ex-girlfriend hostage at gunpoint for 16 hours and repeatedly raped in her Brooksville home, the woman said he issued an ominous threat.

"He threatened me that he is going to do something that everyone regrets," the then-29-year-old woman wrote in an injunction violation filing.

Prosecutor Lisa Herndon read aloud those words to the jury Friday as she closed her case against the 33-year-old Spring Hill man. "By the grace of God, she was here to talk about it," she said.

The jury began considering the case at 4:15 p.m. and didn't reach a verdict before 8 p.m. Olmo, a former maintenance worker for the Hillsborough County School System, faces nine criminal charges, including two counts of kidnapping and two counts of rape.

If found guilty, he could receive a mandatory life sentence. The week-long trial concluded with the prosecution vividly describing a harrowing ordeal and the defense suggesting the woman crafted a greatly exaggerated scenario.

Herndon recounted how the woman came home at 11 a.m. on May 15, 2007, to find her former boyfriend with a gun and her brother tied up in the garage. Olmo, she said, bound her with rope and tape as their children, boys aged 1 and 3, watched. He told them it was a game.

Herndon then displayed the key physical evidence: A black handgun with an ammunition clip and a long, thick plastic sex toy.

Earlier in the week, the woman testified that Olmo forced her to perform sex acts and later forced her at gunpoint to have intercourse.

He threatened to kill himself and her at numerous times, the woman testified. "He put the gun to her head — the mother of his children — and then he put it to her heart," Herndon said.

The woman managed to calm Olmo and he later fell asleep after taking a number of pills, she told jurors. She took the gun and her brother, who escaped from his bindings, wrestled Olmo until authorities arrived.

Olmo's attorney, Kirk Campbell of Brooksville, presented several theories to contradict the prosecution's case. He attacked the credibility of the woman, conflicts in statements and holes in the evidence.

"The government has taken a domestic issue and has blown this incident out of proportion," he said in an 80-minute closing argument.

He said the woman and her brother devised a scheme to put Olmo in prison and gain custody of the children by willingly violating the injunction and then enforcing it at random. Olmo told authorities he came to the home to make her talk to him.

"She played him like Yo-Yo until he pops his cord," he said.

"She drove him to this all because of this," he added, holding a picture of the two kids. "The only thing this man has in his life is his babies and she wants to take these from him, too."

To support his theory, he highlighted a number of inconsistencies in the testimony, suggesting the description of the events "just doesn't make sense" and questioned whether it even happened.

Campbell said the size of the sex toy made it impractical for use and noted that if the woman's ankles indeed had been taped together, sex would have been unfeasible. "The whole thing was concocted," he proclaimed.

Herndon, in her final remarks, wanted to squash any sympathies for Olmo regarding his children or doubt in the substance of the case.

"Ladies and gentleman, that is not a viable defense in this case," she said forcefully. "You cannot ignore the justice system. Sympathy does not play a role here."

She recounted the horror the woman and her brother endured.

"Think about the horrible night (the woman and her brother) had two years ago. They came so close to this man ending their lives," she said.

And then she played the 911 tape from 3 a.m. the next morning, when the episode ended. The woman spoke frantically and the house alarm sounded in the background. "He held us hostage all day," the woman could be heard saying.

Reach John Frank at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Hernando jurors hear tale of horror before they decide George Olmo's fate 05/08/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 8, 2009 8:32pm]
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