Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Victim recounts 2007 rape at knifepoint

TAMPA — A woman closed her eyes and moaned Tuesday as she recounted for jurors the night a stranger crept into her bedroom and raped her at knifepoint.

"Don't hurt me," she said.

"Shh, shh," the man whispered. "Don't say nothing, or I'll hurt the kids."

Prosecutors pinned the Aug. 19, 2007, attack on Jerrod Pass, who they said sexually battered at least seven women since 2003 in blighted neighborhoods near the University of South Florida.

Prosecutors say DNA links Pass to the crimes, and they say he matches the victims' common description of the rapist — a dark-skinned, barefoot man with a scar on his left forearm and body odor.

Pass, 39, is on trial this week for the first of the rape cases to be heard by a jury. His public defenders argue that he is innocent.

The 39-year-old woman who testified against Pass on Tuesday fit the mold of his alleged victims: single black mothers with young children in their homes. She worked as a nurse's aide at an assisted living facility and lived in an apartment complex located south of Fletcher Avenue. The St. Petersburg Times is withholding her name due to the nature of the crime.

She seemed to relive the attack as she spoke, her body squirming and flinching when she described the most painful moments.

She awoke to someone tugging on her feet, she said. Then she felt a knife at her neck.

Her young daughter slept in a nearby room. Worried for her child's safety after the man's threats, the woman said she did not fight or make any noise.

The man covered her head with pillows and bedding before raping her, she said.

She never got a good look at his face and was unable to point him out in court.

Pass, who sat expressionless throughout the testimony, was one of more than 50 men stopped and questioned by investigators who saturated the neighborhoods where the rapes occurred. He allowed a detective to take a swab of his DNA.

At the time, Pass was known as a friendly prep cook at a chain restaurant. He had a handful of misdemeanor arrests on his record.

But after analysts matched his DNA to various crime scenes, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office charged him with a string of felony sexual batteries and armed burglaries.

The woman who testified Tuesday said Pass asked for money before he left.

Afterward, she realized that her purse and its contents were missing.

Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters said detectives found them in Pass' storage unit.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Victim recounts 2007 rape at knifepoint 06/16/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates

    Banking

    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Romano: One person, one vote is not really accurate when it comes to Florida

    Politics

    Imagine this:

    Your mail-in ballot for the St. Petersburg mayoral election has just arrived. According to the fine print, if you live on the west side of the city, your ballot will count as one vote. Meanwhile, a ballot in St. Pete's northeast section counts for three votes.

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter Sept. 22 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  3. St. Petersburg will hold first budget hearing tonight

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City's new property tax rate looks exactly like its current rate. For the second year in a row, Mayor Rick Kriseman does not plan to ask City Council for a tax hike or a tax cut.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. 'We were lucky': Zephyrhills, Dade City get back to normal after Irma

    Hurricanes

    Two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, residents and city officials in eastern Pasco — hit harder than other areas of the county — are moving forward to regain normalcy.

    Edward F. Wood, 70, tugs at a branch to unload a pile of debris he and his wife picked up in their neighborhood, Lakeview in the Hills in Dade City.
  5. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?

    News

    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]