Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New technology helps Pinellas Sheriff's Office solve 25-year-old case

Jeffrey W. Hogston faces a charge of sexual battery in the 25-year-old case.

Jeffrey W. Hogston faces a charge of sexual battery in the 25-year-old case.

TARPON SPRINGS — A woman who was sexually assaulted more than two decades ago may soon have justice after the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office used an updated fingerprint system to identify her attacker, deputies said.

Jeffrey W. Hogston, 49, of Palm Harbor was arrested this week for the 1992 cold case. He faces one count of sexual battery.

On Feb. 7, 1992, the 24-year-old woman — who investigators did not identify due to the nature of the crime — met a man who called himself "Tony" at JD Penguin Lounge on U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

When the lounge closed around 3 a.m., the man asked her for a ride to his hotel, a Quality Inn in Tarpon Springs, deputies said. He had her drive to the back of the building and park the car.

Then, he hit her, forced her into the backseat, and sexually battered her multiple times, deputies said.

He later made her drive to the intersection of U.S. 19 and Beckett Way, where he got out of the car and ran away, deputies said. The woman called authorities.

Investigators found the man's fingerprints on a business card that he had given the woman and on the car. They ran them through an automated fingerprint identification system, but at the time, the prints weren't identifiable.

The case sat cold for years.

Last year, the Sheriff's Office upgraded its fingerprinting with new "biometric software," which improved the system's algorithms, structure and accuracy. The old system made about 150 fingerprint matches a month, said Bill Schade, who heads the Sheriff's Office's fingerprint division. It now makes more than 230.

Investigators ran the fingerprints from the case through the new system and identified Hogston as the attacker, deputies said. They obtained a warrant for his arrest and took him into custody Thursday.

Hogston is being held at the Pinellas County jail on a $150,000 bail.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.

New technology helps Pinellas Sheriff's Office solve 25-year-old case 02/19/17 [Last modified: Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: C'mon Rick Baker, tell us how you really feel about Trump

    Local Government

    A brief timeline of presidential politics in St. Petersburg:

    Rick Baker, center,  waves to drivers while holding a sign that reads "Thank You" along with his family and supporters.
  2. In St. Petersburg mayor's race, Rick vs. Rick is also Rays vs. Rowdies


    ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe before the NFL's national anthem uproar you assumed professional sports were apolitical endeavors. You'd be dead wrong in the case of St. Petersburg's mayoral race.

    Rep. Janet Cruz D-Tampa, left, Rafaela Amador, Tampa Bay Rays Senior Director of Public Relations, center, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman talk with reporters during a press conference at Signature Flight Support in Tampa after returning from Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 11. (WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times)
  3. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts


    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Motorcycle driver killed after hitting turning car on Keene Road in Largo


    A motorcycle driver was killed Friday evening when he struck a turning car, Largo police said.

  5. Drive-by shooting near Robles Park injures four people standing outside in crowd


    TAMPA — Four people standing in a crowd were hit by bullets during a drive-by shooting near Robles Park in Tampa late Friday, Tampa police said.