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Trial begins for Tampa man accused of 16-hour attack on Brooksville woman

BROOKSVILLE — For 16 hours, her ex-boyfriend held her hostage in her Brooksville home. He bound her hands and taped her mouth. He raped her at gunpoint. He threatened to kill her and himself, according to arrest reports, which detail the lengthy ordeal.

Her brother listened to all this from the closet, where he was bound and gagged. Her two young children slept in another room.

As he held the handgun to her head, she thought she was as good as dead. But when it came time to pull the trigger, the ex-boyfriend reconsidered.

She will tell her harrowing tale to a jury today, as the trial opens in the case against George Olmo.

The 33-year-old Tampa man faces nine criminal charges and a mandatory life sentence if found guilty of the May 2007 attack.

His attorney, Kirk Campbell, said the woman's claims are greatly exaggerated. But the prosecutor will present a case that is exceptional for what didn't happen as much as what did happen.

So often these situations end with tragedy. Authorities can't exactly explain why the 31-year-old woman is alive today. The only reason may be luck.

• • •

Olmo, then a maintenance worker in the Hillsborough County School System, knocked on the garage door of the house west of Brooksville just before 11 the morning of May 15, 2007, according to the Hernando County sheriff's arrest reports.

He was looking for his former girlfriend, who was mowing the back yard. Instead, he found her now-34-year-old brother, who was visiting from Tampa. Olmo flashed the pistol and ordered him to the ground, where he hog-tied him.

Still bound, the brother managed to reach his cell phone and dial 911. (He said the operator hung up on him but the Sheriff's Office can't find any record of the call.) Olmo found the phone and took it away.

He hid, waiting for the woman, who had a civil injunction forbidding him from contacting her. The name of the woman, now 31, is being withheld because of the nature of the crimes.

The day before the attack, she filed court papers indicating he violated the injunction by stalking her. Her statement did not get reviewed by prosecutors until a week later.

She came in the garage after finishing mowing, and Olmo held her at gunpoint as he tied her up.

The former couple's two children, boys ages 18 months and 3, were nearby.

Olmo put the brother in the master bedroom closet. He took the woman into the bathroom and later the bedroom where he sexually assaulted her numerous times, according to documents.

He took time to care for the boys, giving them a bath, lunch and a nap. He filmed short movies of them on his cell phone.

He later told authorities he came to the home because the woman wouldn't answer his calls or let him see his children. He wanted to make her talk to him.

His behavior, fueled by cocaine, painkillers, marijuana and antidepressants, escalated as the hours passed.

Olmo told the woman he intended to kill himself. He lay next to her on the bed. "He wanted me to see him die," she later told authorities.

But he couldn't pull the trigger and began to pace the bedroom. In a statement to authorities, she previewed what she will tell the jury next:

"He decided to kill me first and that would motivate him to kill himself," she recalled. "I pleaded (with him) not to kill me — let me see my kids for the last time. He said no because they were sleeping."

He put the .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun to her head. She was sure he would pull the trigger.

"I told him to shoot me in the heart, if he was going to kill me," she continued. "He later pointed at my chest with the gun. I started crying, saying 'no,' then he put the gun down and took the tape off my mouth."

She managed to talk to him until he calmed down about 5:30 p.m. She agreed to cook dinner if he untied her. He did.

Two hours later, Olmo apologized and began taking pills. At 1 a.m. he passed out.

By this point — nearly 3 a.m. the next day — her brother managed to untie himself. From the closet, he whispered a plan to his sister: Grab the gun. He took Olmo, putting him in a choke hold. She grabbed the gun and called authorities.

The dramatic tale doesn't make sense to Campbell, Olmo's attorney. "It isn't always the way one side says," he said.

Attorneys picked a jury Monday. Testimony begins today.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Trial begins for Tampa man accused of 16-hour attack on Brooksville woman 05/04/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 7:43pm]

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