TAMPA — A judge handed down the harshest possible punishment Monday for an accused serial rapist known for his foul body odor and tendency to prey on single black mothers.
Jerrod Pass, 40, received three consecutive life sentences for sexually battering a nurse's aide at knifepoint on Aug. 19, 2007, an attack she said leaves her worried each night that someone might be lurking in her home.
Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman called Pass' actions inexcusable, rebuking him for threatening to hurt the woman's children if she fought back.
During the attack, the victim's young daughter slept nearby.
"You used the threat of harm to a child to inflict not only physical damage but mental damage on this lady who was doing nothing but trying to make a living (and) taking care of her children," the judge said. "You've had a terrible impact on her life."
Timmerman designated Pass a sexual predator.
A jury found him guilty in June of two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon and one count of armed burglary with an assault.
Pass, a father of two teenagers and a restaurant prep cook at the time of his arrest, maintained his innocence Monday.
"I didn't do it," he said. "I don't have the heart to hurt anybody."
Authorities tell a different story. They say Pass has sexually battered at least seven women since 2003 in blighted neighborhoods near the University of South Florida. The victims offered a common description of the rapist — a dark-skinned, barefoot man with a scar on his left forearm and a body odor.
The attack on the nurse's aide was the first to go to trial. Testifying earlier this summer, she recalled being awoken in her bedroom by a stranger, who put a knife to her neck, covered her face with pillows and raped her.
She could not identify her attacker. But DNA determined to be Pass' was found on the victim.
Authorities also found her missing purse in his rented storage unit.
The woman, who is not being named due to the nature of the crime, spoke softly Monday of its lingering effects.
"Laying with my boyfriend at night," she said, "sometimes if he touches me, I shake. I shake all the time."
Timmerman said he hoped the life sentences would bring the victim some solace.
Then he set Pass' next rape case for trial in November.
Colleen Jenkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3337.