TAMPA — The funky 1970s school bus converted into a cozy home in Ybor City was a 24-year-old marketing graduate's strategy for attracting advertisers to her website.
But in May 2011, the bus she and her father had painted white and refurbished attracted an intruder who choked and raped her, the woman told a jury Wednesday.
Fighting back tears but describing her ordeal in detail, she identified her attacker as Charles Newbold, 30, of Lakeland. He is standing trial on charges of burglary and sexual battery.
The woman testified that she had been living in the bus, parked on 3rd Avenue in Ybor City for about two months. She said Newbold broke into the bus on the morning of May 27, 2011, coming toward her with his pants pulled down.
"I walked toward him," she said, "hoping to scare him away." But she said he grabbed her in a choke hold and pulled her to the floor. During the rape, she said, she managed to get loose and flee the bus.
After calling 911, the woman posted an alert on her Twitter feed: "Ybor- 6'2 black man w scruffy beard blue shirt tan shorts driving commercial truck call me. broke into (the bus) & raped me. Glad im alive."
On Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Aaron Hubbard said Newbold's DNA matched a sample found in a condom recovered outside the bus.
Newbold's defense attorney, Marc Joseph, said the sex was consensual. He said Newbold had met the woman and she invited him back to her bus.
The woman said she had never seen him before the attack.
The trial before Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente is expected to last two days.