TAMPA —Two years ago, a woman in an Ybor City parking garage felt a huge forearm wrap tight around her neck. The attacker who choked her weighed 350 pounds. He was 16 years old.
On Monday, she saw her attacker again. He is now 18 and about 150 pounds lighter. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder, attempted rape and aggravated battery.
Javon Cooper moved to Tampa from Tennessee only four months before the attack, attending Plant High School, and had already been arrested four times.
Prosecutors said he accosted the woman from behind as she was getting an item from her car in the garage at 2010 N 13th St. She couldn't breathe and at first feigned unconsciousness. He continued choking her until she actually did pass out.
When she awoke, she was sprawled across the front seat of her car, naked from the waist down. Cooper was running away. He hadn't raped her. The victim didn't know what scared him off.
Shortly after, Tampa police caught Cooper as he boarded a public bus. They found his fingerprints on her car.
He was to have a jury trial on Monday before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe, but agreed to plead guilty to all charges before the jury selection began.
His victim was in court, but didn't testify. Prosecutors asked Tharpe to delay sentencing until Wednesday.
Cooper faces a total of 60 years in prison.
John Barry can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3383.