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Youngest suspect pleads guilty to string of rapes

TAMPA — His victims knew him as "the mean one," prosecutors say.

While two other men took turns raping two women in Apollo Beach in 2008, Jose Guadalupe Walle, just 13 years old, held the gun on the victims. He didn't say a word, at least not right away.

But later, prosecutor Rita Peters said, he spoke up. He wanted to shoot the women and kill them. He had to be persuaded not to.

On Thursday, Walle pleaded guilty to numerous life felonies, including two counts of armed kidnapping and 11 counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon.

Now 15, he stood before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe and mumbled his first "guilty" plea.

"Pardon me?" Tharpe asked.

"Guilty," Walle stated more clearly in a deep voice.

From there, the "guilty" pleas seemed to come more naturally.

He stood beside his attorney and his distraught mother, and, charge by charge, took official responsibility for his part in a string of violent rapes and robberies that crossed Hills­borough and Pinellas counties in the summer of 2008.

Eleven counts of armed sexual battery?

"Guilty."

Attempted robbery?

"Guilty."

Grand theft motor vehicle?

"Guilty."

Police say that on Aug. 16, 2008, Walle helped Rigoberto Moron Martinez, 22, and Vicente Reyes-Carbajal, 21, attack, rape and kidnap two women from the Docks Bar & Grill in Apollo Beach.

Deputies say the threesome covered the women's mouths with duct tape, kidnapped them in one of their cars, took them to a dirt area near Noonan Road, where the rapes began, then to a Bank of America ATM, to a gas station and, finally, to a field, where the rapes continued.

The four-hour nightmare ended on Interstate 275 after the men ordered the women to jump out of the vehicle.

It was the end of a string of terror that started with a July 19 home invasion and rape in Gibsonton and an Aug. 3 rape and robbery at the Table restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg.

Walle already has been sentenced in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court to 27 years in prison for his participation in the Table rape. Authorities determined the evidence did not place him at the Gibsonton incident. Sentencing for the Docks case will come later in Hillsborough court.

On Thursday, when Tharpe asked Walle's mother, Karla Infante, if she was in agreement with the pleading, she paused next to her Spanish language interpreter and stared up at the ceiling in silence.

"Si," she finally exhaled.

"Yes," the interpreter repeated.

Infante said after the hearing that she hopes the judge offers leniency in sentencing. Her son was young, had run away, was taking drugs and was under the influence of others, she and attorney Darlene Calzone Barror said before restating the part of the story that surprised people the most:

"He was only 13 years old," Barror said.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Youngest suspect pleads guilty to string of rapes 02/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 10:46pm]
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