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Zephyrhills rape victim describes night of terror

DADE CITY — The woman spoke matter-of-factly, pausing just twice to keep hold of her emotions.

She was testifying in a courtroom, recalling what happened to her around midnight on March 27, 2007, just after she had lain down to catch Frasier on TV.

Robbed. Raped. Left for dead.

The woman could not identify her attackers because they wore masks. But prosecutors hope to use her testimony to show that the men who assaulted her were the same pair who committed another rape about three weeks prior during that frightening spring in Zephyrhills.

Bobby Lee Black III is set to face trial next week in the first attack. Authorities say he and Jathniel McMichael are responsible for both assaults. They face life in prison if convicted.

In both late-night attacks, two masked men broke into mobile homes where elderly women lived alone. Both victims were robbed and raped. A judge will decide whether evidence from one case can be used in the other to show a pattern.

The woman, now 70, testified Monday that her dog started barking and she heard a loud crash. It was a brick coming through a window glass.

Then she saw the men, both wearing hooded sweatshirts, gloves and cloths over their faces. They stopped her as she tried to dial 911. One of them punched her several times in the eye.

They emptied her purse, where the found the keys to her van.

"That's when they took me out of the house and up the road," she said.

At one point, the driver got in the back and the other man took the wheel.

"And what happened?" Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia asked her.

"Well, he raped me," the woman said.

Then they drove to an ATM, she said, where they made her get dressed so she could withdraw money. They got $200.

And then she took her first pause. "You have to give me a minute," she told Garcia.

In the van, one of the men held a knife to her throat. They seemed to waver on whether they would kill her. Next they drove out to a water-filled quarry near the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport and walked her to the edge. One of them pushed her in. She slid on her stomach, losing her glasses along the way, until she hit water.

Then came her second pause: "This is hard," she said.

"Anyway, the next thing I know, the car was coming in right on top of me. I had to hurry to get out of the way," she said.

She managed to crawl out, walk across the road and stand under a light until a passing driver stopped to help.

Zephyrhills rape victim describes night of terror 04/13/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 9:17pm]
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