Monday, June 25, 2018
News Roundup

Man gets life term in Hernando County rape, kidnapping case

BROOKSVILLE — When Allan Everett Koonce passed out on Christmas Eve 2010, his victim seized her chance.

For some five hours, Koonce had beat and raped the 62-year-old woman who had once taken him in and given him a place to stay. When he fell asleep, she wriggled out of the binds around her feet and ran, mostly naked and handcuffed, out the door.

On Thursday, the woman stood at a lectern in a fourth-floor courtroom at the Hernando County Government Center, just feet away from Koonce. This time, her attacker's hands were cuffed.

"Many people . . . gave Mr. Koonce the opportunity to become a responsible citizen," said the woman, whom the Times is not identifying because of the nature of the crimes. "There are people who believed in him.

"For him, the answer is the same it's always been. The answer is Jesus."

A few moments later, Chief Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Sr. sentenced Koonce to life in prison.

"The acts you committed were despicable, demeaning and humiliating to the victim, and totally unacceptable in our society," Merritt said.

During several hours of testimony at Koonce's trial last month, his victim recounted the terrifying five hours he held her captive.

The woman, a longtime volunteer for a local Christian ministry that helps the poor and homeless, had allowed Koonce to stay in her Brooksville home because he had nowhere else to go. Others in the ministry had also tried to help get the man back on his feet.

Koonce became angry, she said, when she told him it wasn't working out and he needed to leave.

On that frigid Christmas Eve, Koonce called and lured her to a Spring Lake house he was sitting for a mutual friend. He said he had some items for the ministry, and that there were other people there.

The woman arrived to find Koonce alone, armed with a knife and a rifle. He grabbed her, bound her, cut off her clothes and, over the course of several hours, raped and beat her repeatedly. As he downed liquor, he told her he would rather kill her than let her go.

When Koonce passed out, the woman was able to force her feet out of the zip-ties, grab her cellphone and flee. Deputies found her shivering on Hampstead Road, her hands still cuffed and held by zip-ties under her chin. She was covered only by the shredded pieces of her heavy winter coat. She had suffered two black eyes, a broken nose and a broken rib.

In his defense, Koonce claimed that he had been rendered temporarily psychotic, a result of an allergic reaction to an opiate painkiller someone had placed in his aspirin bottle.

The jury quickly returned with guilty verdicts on seven counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, one count of kidnapping and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Koonce, 49, previously had served a short stint behind bars for violating probation on a domestic battery charge. The sentencing guidelines called for 64 years in prison in the rape case.

Assistant State Attorney Shannon Laviano asked Merritt to sentence Koonce to a life term. Public defender Devon Sharkey requested 25 years, the minimum allowed by law.

Before Merritt ruled, he asked Koonce if he had anything to say.

He shook his head.

"It wouldn't do me any good," he said, then once again stated he had been drugged.

After the sentencing, the woman stood outside the courtroom and smiled. Her faith in God, she said, helped her through the ordeal.

"I feel safe," she said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. Follow him on Twitter @TMarreroTimes and @HernandoTimes.

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