Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg police: Man has history of harassing, attacking women downtown

ST. PETERSBURG — James Alex Wilborn Jr. has a violent history. He was 15 when he stabbed his father to death. He was in prison when he turned 18 while serving 11 years for second-degree murder.

Now St. Petersburg police say Wilborn has developed a new pattern of violence: propositioning young women in the city's popular downtown bar district, then attacking them after they rebuffed his advances.

Wilborn assaulted another woman early Wednesday morning, according to police, in full view of officers who were stationed outside Scene Premium Night Club at 211 Third St. S.

She is his third alleged victim in more than two years.

"Clearly he has displayed a very distinct pattern of violent behavior, especially towards women," said police spokesman Mike Puetz. "The investigators strongly feel that he needs to remain incarcerated."

Wednesday's incident took place about 2 a.m., police said. The woman, 18, refused his advances and left the club. Wilborn followed her outside, police said, then struck her in the head with a beer mug he had removed from the club.

Officers, who are regularly stationed outside of Scene late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, closed in on Wilborn. Police said he resisted arrest, and even tried to break free while handcuffed.

Wilborn's first downtown attack took place on Jan. 19, 2010. He was charged with four counts of misdemeanor battery for harassing and punching a woman outside the State Theatre at 687 Central Ave.

He pulled her dress up, police said, then punched her. Wilborn also shoved her friend and attacked those who came to the aid of the women, police said. He was sentenced to six months in the county jail.

Then early Jan. 1, 2011, police said Wilborn followed a woman and her friend as they left Push Ultra Lounge at 128 Third St. S. They walked two blocks south to find a cab when Wilborn "grabbed the victim in a sexually suggestive manner," according to police, and lifted her dress.

She slapped him and turned away. Wilborn repeatedly stabbed her in the back, police said, causing her lung to collapse. He ran away, but at the hospital she later picked him out of a photo lineup, police said. Wilborn was charged with two counts of aggravated battery in connection with the New Year's Day attack.

After his 2011 arrest, Wilborn spent more than a year in jail because of a violation of probation charge from the 2010 case, according to records. But once the violation was settled, Wilborn was freed March 26 after posting $20,000 bond. Puetz said the investigator in the 2011 case was looking for ways to get Wilborn's bail increased before he was released.

Wilborn's latest arrest led a judge Wednesday to revoke his bond in the 2011 case. Wilborn's newest charges are aggravated battery, resisting arrest with violence and escape. He was in the Pinellas County jail on Wednesday night, where he was being held without bail.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8472.

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