Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Culbreath Isles rapist released, deportation expected

TAMPA — A man sentenced to 40 years in prison for his part in a shocking 1992 Culbreath Isles home invasion and rape was turned over to immigration officials Tuesday for deportation after serving less than half his term.

Rudy Barrientos, 34, was 17 when he and three other young men broke into a home in the exclusive South Tampa neighborhood, tied up a woman and her teenage son, ransacked the house and repeatedly raped the mother. The men ate waffles with syrup before fleeing in the family's van.

Three of the men received life sentences. For reasons unclear Tuesday, Barrientos, whose nine convictions included two counts of sexual battery with a weapon or force, faced a maximum of 40 years.

He served only 17 years because he committed his crime before a 1995 law requiring those convicted of serious offenses to complete at least 85 percent of their sentences, said Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. At the time of his incarceration, inmates' sentences were automatically shaved by a third as soon as they landed behind bars.

The early release didn't sit well with those who knew the victims or the detective who took Barrientos' confession.

Tampa police Detective Dennis Drabiniak still remembers how Barrientos was wearing a necklace that belonged to the woman he raped when authorities interviewed him.

"What they did to her, oh my God," Drabiniak said. "How vile can you get? This is just terrible."

The violent nature of the crime rocked the gated waterfront neighborhood off West Shore Boulevard in the spring of 1992.

The 45-year-old woman and her 16-year-old son were asleep in their two-story home when one of the men climbed through an unlocked kitchen window and let the other three men in through a door.

The masked intruders woke the son by pressing a gun to his head. After they tore up the home, they left the boy bound and gagged in a back room and then repeatedly raped his mother in her bed.

The four stole a television, a videocassette recorder, jewelry and a shotgun. At one of the robber's homes, police found the family's VCR hooked up to a TV and a tin of foreign coins the mother collected.

A fingerprint found on the syrup bottle and hairs found in the woman's sheets led police to another robber.

Barrientos' co-defendants — Michael Richard Long, Kevin Lavard Thomas and Dennis Wayne Gonzalez — remain in prison.

The rape victim did not respond to messages left by the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday. Her son declined to comment.

Authorities transferred Barrientos, a native of Guatemala whose name also appears as Rudi Barrientos in records, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials without incident at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Plessinger said.

She said Barrientos had a deportation hearing in 1996, where he was ordered to be deported upon his release.

He now faces removal from the United States, said ICE spokeswoman Nicole A. Navas.

Barrientos could have been released even earlier under the old rules, but officials detained him an extra 255 days because of disciplinary issues, Plessinger said. Those offenses included an obscene or profane act, possession of an unauthorized beverage and disorderly conduct.

Mental health experts with the Department of Children and Families reviewed Barrientos' case to determine if his sex crime conviction made him eligible to be held longer.

But Steve Wiggins, one of the psychologists who evaluated the case, said Barrientos did not meet the criteria to be considered a dangerous sexual predator because this was his only known sex offense and robbery seemed to be the primary motive in the crime. He was cleared for release in August.

News of Barrientos' release Tuesday disgusted Malcolm Pressman, a longtime Culbreath Isles resident who knows the victims.

"Anybody who does that is just no good," he said. "I think they're doing a disservice to the public when they let these guys out."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or Colleen Jenkins can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or

Culbreath Isles rapist released, deportation expected 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.