Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Jury finds Joseph Frye guilty of raping 75-year-old woman

TAMPA — The last time Joseph Frye committed rape, he was given 40 years in prison but got out in 19.

On Wednesday, he was convicted of raping a 75-year-old widow only 27 days after his release in August 2009. This time, a judge vowed that Frye will never go free again.

"Mr. Frye," said Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe, "you are a predator. You are an animal. I do not desire that you spend one more day of your life as a free person."

The judge then sentenced Frye, 52, to four consecutive life sentences for three counts of armed sexual battery and another count of armed burglary.

Tharpe apologized to Frye's victim, saying her attacker should never have been released after serving only half of his previous sentence. "The state of Florida failed you," he told her.

Jurors deliberated for one hour. They had heard Frye's taped confession, they were shown DNA identification, and they had listened to the victim's testimony that she had tried to shoot him, but he overpowered her.

They also heard Frye tell a Tampa detective, "I'm not even supposed to be alive."

The victim's account bore similarities to a rape Frye committed in 1985. He was 25 and had been out of prison for less than a month when he forced his way into a home at gunpoint and tied up a woman, her husband and her son. He kidnapped, raped and robbed the woman.

In closing arguments Wednesday, Assistant Public Defender Kenneth Littman called it a case of mistaken identity. He said the bedroom was illuminated by only a night-light.

Littman said Frye's confession was a false one. He pointed out Frye's history of mental illness and his use of psychotropic drugs for two decades.

"They get a paranoid schizophrenic to confess," he said. "Good enough."

Littman called the DNA match "a slender thread to base a conviction on."

Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters said, "All the details came out of (Frye's) mouth."

Before sentencing, Frye told the judge he had used drugs before the attack and could remember little about it.

"I'm not using that as an excuse," he said. "I'm sorry for what happened."

John Barry can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3383.

Comments
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Updated: 4 minutes ago

Updated: 12 minutes ago

Updated: 14 minutes ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

Tonight's Rays lineup against the Twins. Brad Miller back in the lineup following his DL stint (left groin strain). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.LF Denard SpanDH C.J. CronRF Carlos Gomez1B Brad Miller3B Daniel Robertson2B Joey WendleC Wilson RamosCF Malle...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough State Attorney vows to create conviction integrity unit this year

Hillsborough State Attorney vows to create conviction integrity unit this year

TAMPA — Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said Friday he wants his office to have a conviction integrity unit in place before the end of the year.The unit would examine select prosecutions to determine whether innocent people might have been ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Corps of Engineers not in a hurry to hand over wetlands permitting to Florida

Corps of Engineers not in a hurry to hand over wetlands permitting to Florida

Despite the dire warnings of environmental advocates, the Legislature last month passed a bill to allow the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to take over issue federal wetlands destruction permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago