Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

DNA from discarded cigarette leads to murder trial

LARGO — The trial for a man accused of raping and killing a 29-year-old Clearwater woman in 2012 is scheduled to begin this week.

Sheriff's investigators said Thomas Hampton Frederick, 23, met Adrianne Robert at the Diamond Dolls strip club in Clearwater on July 13, July 2012.

Robert, a 29-year-old graphics designer, had gone there for a drink with her roommate but decided to leave before he did. At about 1:30 a.m., she was walking back to their apartment alone when the club's surveillance cameras show a man rushing up to her with a black shawl she had left behind.

They walked off together.

When Robert's roommate returned a few hours later, he found her body. She was wearing only a bra, and had been stabbed in the chest.

Sheriff's investigators identified Frederick as a suspect after club officials told them he had arrived earlier that day in a cab. They followed Frederick until he gave them the final clue they needed: He flicked a cigarette out of his car window.

They compared DNA on the cigarette to samples from the crime scene, and found a match, investigators said.

At the time of his arrest, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Frederick "made admissions" during his interview with detectives and told them where they could find the murder weapon and the keys to Robert's car, which was stolen that night.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today, followed by opening statements this afternoon or Wednesday morning.

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