Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Tampa rapist gets forgiveness, and life in prison

TAMPA

Tommy Lee Sailor's victim told him she forgave him for choking and sexually assaulting her on New Year's Day 2010.

But the victim did her part during his trial to make sure Sailor could never attack another woman. On Thursday morning, she asked Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe to do his part.

Tharpe then told Sailor, 38, he was the kind of person Florida prisons were made to keep. He sentenced Sailor to life without parole for armed sexual battery and 15 years in prison for false imprisonment.

Last April, it took a jury just 16 minutes to convict Sailor of attacking the 30-year-old single mother of two after she and Sailor left a New Year's Eve celebration at a Port Tampa bar called Tillie's Place.

It was 3 a.m. She'd had seven beers. He told her he lived nearby and could give her a ride home. She didn't know he was a twice-convicted rapist, only six months out of prison. She didn't know he had slipped off an ankle monitor to go out that night.

At his house, Sailor demanded sex. He told her he was a "serial killer and a serial rapist." When she resisted, he held a screwdriver to her eye and choked her. He told her he would spare her life in exchange for sex.

As he attacked her, she managed to dial 911 on her cell phone. She didn't know if the call went through. But a 911 dispatcher heard her screams, traced the call and sent Tampa police to her rescue.

Jurors heard a recording of the 911 call.

At the Thursday sentencing, the victim and her mother said they are still haunted by the attack, and the idea that the victim's two children, ages 12 and 3, could have been left motherless.

The victim said she took action last year to make sure she never put her children's security at risk again.

"I walked into Alcoholics Anonymous," she said. "I haven't had a drink in over a year."

Sailor declined to speak before he was sentenced. Since he was 16, he has spent only three years outside prison.

"I forgive you, Mr. Sailor," the victim's mother said. "You are out of my head and my heart and out of my feelings. I hope you find a connection with a god you understand."

John Barry can be reached at jbarry@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Port Tampa rapist gets forgiveness, and life in prison 05/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2011 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County

    Crime

    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts

    Editorials

    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington

    Editorials

    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

    David Taylor, with his father David Taylor Sr., was killed earlier this month in Syria while fighting for a Kurdish militia.