Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa rape suspect caught

TAMPA — After a daylong search, police caught a registered sexual predator they say assaulted a woman early Saturday morning while holding a screwdriver against her throat.

Tommy Lee Sailor, 37, who has spent most of his adult life in prison for crimes including sexual battery, robbery and battery of a law enforcement officer, raped a woman he took home from a bar Friday night, Tampa police say.

Sailor was released from prison in July with an ankle monitor. According to his parole guidelines, he wasn't supposed to have left his house Friday, said Tampa police Lt. Donny Peters.

Sailor went to Tilley's, a bar on Commerce Street in Tampa, where he met the victim, Peters said. They left at last call, at about 2:45 a.m., and went party hopping, Peters said.

At about 4 a.m., the two went to Sailor's house at 7408 S O'Brien St. in Tampa, near MacDill Air Force Base. While they were in his bedroom, Sailor became violent and made unwanted sexual advances, police said. He then grabbed a screwdriver and raped the woman, who is not being named due to the nature of the crime.

She fought back and was able to call 911 on her cell phone. She dropped the phone, but the call had already connected. Dispatchers were able to track the call, which led police to Sailor's home.

Officers forced their way into the house, and Sailor jumped out a back window and ran away. Officers and police dogs were initially unable to track him down.

The Florida Department of Corrections was monitoring Sailor's parole. Police and corrections officials gave differing accounts Saturday of when probation officials were notified that Sailor had left his house.

A probation officer who was on call, Pam Compton, arrived at Sailor's house after police were already there, said Peters, the Tampa police lieutenant.

Peters said Compton told officers that she had received a notice at about 2 a.m. that Sailor had left his home. She tried to alert him twice, she told officers, but he did not respond, so she went to his house.

However, state corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said it appears that the probation officer went to Sailor's house immediately after she was notified at 4:54 a.m. that he had run away.

"We've done a cursory review … and at this point it looks like the probation officer handled everything according to policy," she said.

Sailor was at large for most of Saturday until Tampa police officers arrested him minutes before 9 p.m.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Tampa rape suspect caught 01/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 2, 2010 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.