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Video from cell phone leads to arrest in Pinellas Trail attack

DUNEDIN — The 45-year-old Dunedin man was beaten so badly on the Pinellas Trail that he suffered broken ribs, a chipped orbital bone in his face and spinal injuries.

He didn't know his attacker.

But ultimately, he gave sheriff's detectives the crucial piece of evidence that enabled them to track down a suspect three months after the brutal beating.

The victim, David Brummitt, captured the first blow on a video on his cell phone, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives recently recovered the video from Brummitt's broken cell phone. On Wednesday, they arrested the man they say attacked Brummitt about 8:20 p.m. June 14 on the trail near Florida Avenue in Dunedin.

Anthony Sansone, 45, of 149 Broadway was charged with aggravated battery. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday afternoon after posting $10,000 bail. He does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Brummitt said he started filming that night as he rode his bike home when he saw a man being "loud, obnoxious and vulgar." He planned to tape the man's tirade and post it on YouTube.

As Brummitt was filming, he said, Sansone "walks right over to me, right into my face, hocked one up and spit it right into the left side of my face and neck and right-hooked me right into Thursday of next week."

Brummitt fell to the ground and dropped his phone, breaking it. He said Sansone continued to attack him.

It wasn't until mid-September that Brummitt discovered he had video of the incident. His cell phone provider had sent him a new phone in the mail that had to be returned. When he finally received a second replacement, Brummitt was transferring data into the new phone and noticed a large video file in his old phone.

He contacted the Sheriff's Office after watching the clip.

Sheriff's officials say they identified Sansone from the video by looking through property records for men living in the immediate area, then checking driver's license photos of those men.

"I mean, it's something that happens on TV," Brummitt said.

Brummitt then picked Sansone from a photo line-up provided by the Sheriff's Office.

Reached by telephone Thursday evening, Sansone declined to discuss specifics about the incident, but said that he was a victim in the case and that he was acting in "self-defense."

Brummitt, an avid diver, said when the incident happened he was preparing to go to Grand Cayman for an internship as a dive instructor, but those plans had to be put on hold as he continues to recuperate. He said he is in "daily pain, 24/7."

Brummitt encouraged others to use the video functions on their phones if they notice "something that doesn't look right."

"A picture's worth a thousand words."

Video from cell phone leads to arrest in Pinellas Trail attack 09/29/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 9:37am]
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