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Sex assault trial punctuated by defendant's taped statement: 'I'm a serial rapist'

TAMPA — The young woman shivered in a cold courtroom as she told a jury how she was sexually assaulted in the predawn of New Year's Day 2010. But when asked to identify her attacker, she pointed firmly, her right index finger steady.

"That man right there."

The 31-year-old single mother of two pointed at Tommy Lee Sailor, 38. He is a twice-convicted rapist who is on trial in Hillsborough County Circuit Court on charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill the woman he met in a Port Tampa bar on New Year's Eve while on probation.

Sailor's jury trial before Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe will include a 911 call police say the woman secretly made from Sailor's bedroom.

On a tape of the call, a man is heard telling the woman, "I'm a serial rapist. I'm a serial killer." The woman told the jury today that she had gone to the man's home thinking he intended only to give her a ride home. After he threw her on the bed, choked her and held a flathead screwdriver to her eye, she said she thought he would kill her.

Tampa police traced the 911 call to Sailor's home and burst in just as Sailor discovered the phone connection.

He fled the home through a window. When he was later caught, police found that he had been charged with three rapes in 1994 and convicted of two of them. He was released from prison in 2008 but ordered to wear an ankle monitor. The night he met the woman, he had removed the monitor. Sailor, 38, is charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment.

In cross examination, Hillsborough County Assistant Public Defender Maria Pavlidis brought out that Sailor got off the bed several times and told the woman he was "punking" her, that he wasn't serious. At one point, he allowed her to put her jeans back on after he had taken them off. The woman said he assaulted her with his finger. He never took his pants off or exposed himself.

But the woman said he threatened to tape her mouth with electrical tape and told her she was going to have sex.

After her 90 minutes of testimony, the woman was still trembling in the hallway outside court. She said she and her mother would watch the entire trial.

"I did my part," she said. "I didn't shake when I pointed him out."

Sex assault trial punctuated by defendant's taped statement: 'I'm a serial rapist' 04/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 2:38pm]
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