TAMPA — A bloody shirt proved key to bringing a robbery suspect to justice, according to police reports.
Almost a year after the robbery, DNA from the droplets on the shirt have been matched to a felon — who police say has now confessed.
On July 5, a police report said, a woman approached a 34-year-old man as he put money into his wallet in an alley near 3209 Hillsborough Ave.
She distracted him as another man jumped out of a car pointing a pistol, the report said.
They threatened to shoot the man and demanded his wallet, but the victim fought back. The pistol was actually a pellet gun.
During the struggle, the victim bit the hand of the male robber, leaving a blood splatter on the victim's shirt.
The wounded robber jumped into the car and sped away — leaving behind Crystal Denise Williams, 19, of St. Petersburg, the report said. She was arrested and charged with two counts of robbery without a weapon.
The male robber got away, but the victim turned the shirt over to police, who passed it on to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for DNA analysis.
It took authorities until this year to find a DNA match from the shirt to felony probation records, the report said. There wasn't a hit until Alexander Jerico Butler submitted his DNA as part of his felony probation in the past month, said Andrea Davis, a spokeswoman for Tampa police.
Butler, 21, of 5606 N 34th St. was serving one year of community supervision following a conviction for grand theft, according to state Department of Corrections records. His probation would have ended Dec. 20.
Instead, Butler was arrested at his home Tuesday and charged with armed robbery. He wrote a confession after police read him his rights, the report said.