Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge won't change venue in Bloomingdale library rape trial

TAMPA — More than two years after Kendrick Morris was accused of sexually battering two women, a Hillsborough circuit judge Tuesday refused to move the trial to another city before attempting to seat a jury in Tampa.

In April 2008, Morris, then 16, was accused of raping and brutally beating an 18-year-old woman outside Bloomingdale Regional Library when she went to return a book late at night.

A few days later, investigators linked his DNA to an attack the summer before on a 61-year-old woman at the Children's Lighthouse Day Care Center in the Clair-Mel area.

A jury trial in the day care case is set for Aug. 30, and the library case is scheduled for September.

On Tuesday, Assistant Public Defender Maria Pavlidis said extensive media coverage of the library victim's injuries — and the resulting outpouring of sympathy from the community — would make it impossible to seat an impartial jury. She said many fundraisers have been organized for the young woman, with one set for Aug. 21, about a week before Morris' first trial.

The victim, then a senior at East Bay High School, suffered fractures to her forehead and nose and multiple strokes from being choked. She lost her vision and her ability to speak.

Pavlidis said online blog posts routinely hurl insults at Morris, his family, and even his attorneys. One, she said, likened Morris to the devil. She said the two rape cases have become so intertwined that it would be difficult for jurors in the day care case to set aside their biases and preconceived notions stemming from the library incident.

But Assistant State Attorney Mike Sinacore said juries had successfully been seated in many high-profile cases. He said statements by law enforcement officials to reporters have only provided facts regarding the two cases, with little "inflammatory commentary."

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe said he would consider the defense's motion again if it appears difficult to seat an impartial jury next month.

"I think it's premature to change venue at this time, at least on the day care case," he said.

Nandini Jayakrishna can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or

Judge won't change venue in Bloomingdale library rape trial 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.