Police: DNA links homeless man to 2001 rape case in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — Detectives arrested a homeless man Friday in connection with a St. Petersburg sexual battery case from 2001.

An arrest report indicates that James Barnes, 48, was linked to the crime through a DNA match.

Barnes, according to the report, approached a woman who had become lost somewhere in St. Petersburg about 3 a.m. Sept. 23, 2001. He guided the woman to a field, then grabbed her arm and pushed her to the ground, the report said. He then took off the woman's underwear and raped her.

The woman was afraid Barnes was going to kill her, the report said. Barnes and the woman did not know each other before the incident.

Detectives developed a DNA profile from the woman's underwear, the report said.

Barnes was arrested late Friday and booked in the Pinellas County Jail on a single charge of sexual battery. He was held on $20,000 bail.

Barnes has also been accused of three other sexual battery allegations, the report states.

Court records show that Barnes was arrested in February 2001 on a sexual battery charge, but prosecutors did not pursue the charge. There are no records showing he was arrested in connection with the two other cases.

He was also arrested in 2004 on an armed robbery charge, but prosecutors again chose not to pursue the case. He has multiple prior convictions for cocaine possession and various traffic offenses.

Dan Sullivan can be reached at (727) 893-8321 or dsullivan@tampbay.com.

Police: DNA links homeless man to 2001 rape case in St. Pete 03/09/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 9, 2013 8:15pm]

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