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Inmate arrested in 16-year-old child sex assault case

CLEARWATER — Sixteen years after the crime, detectives have made an arrest in a child sexual battery case.

The break came when DNA evidence from the 1992 rape was matched to a current inmate in the Department of Corrections system.

Louis J. Jones, 52, is serving a 22-year sentence at the Martin Correctional Institution on rape and burglary charges. This week, he was transferred to the Pinellas County Jail for a Jimmy Ryce Act court hearing. On Friday, he was served with the arrest warrant for the 1992 sexual battery.

According to authorities, the crime occurred about 6:25 a.m. on Oct. 5, 1992, when Jones broke into a home in Clearwater. He found a 12-year-old girl in a bedroom and held a sharp object to her throat as he committed sexual battery on her, authorities said.

Sheriff's detectives have not released the victim's name because of the nature of the offense. A news release said Jones and the owner of the home were co-workers at the Palm Garden of Pinellas nursing home in Largo. The release said Jones waited for the co-worker to leave before breaking in and attacking the girl.

In 2006, detectives went through a case review and found some new leads, though they would not discuss them on Friday. Two years later, they found a DNA match that linked Jones to the crime.

In 1996, according to court records, he was sentenced for a burglary and sexual battery from 1991 and a burglary and sexual battery from 1993.

In the 1993 case, Jones raped a 70-year-old woman in her home, authorities told the newspaper at the time. Authorities believed he knew the woman.

Back then it was again DNA evidence that linked him to the crime, according to authorities.

This week, before the sexual battery charge was added to his sheet, Jones was in Pinellas court for a hearing under the Jimmy Ryce Act, a Florida law that lets the state confine people deemed sexually violent predators and who are at risk of offending again.

His 22-year sentence was scheduled to end in February, but Jones would not have been released because he has holds placed on him in South Carolina and Georgia.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Inmate arrested in 16-year-old child sex assault case 01/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 10:05pm]
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