Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas clerks suspended for destroying evidence in unsolved rape case

LARGO — Two property clerks at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office were suspended for mistakenly destroying evidence related to an unsolved sexual battery case in Clearwater, internal affairs records show.

In July 2012, property clerk James Ponds removed the 12 items of evidence from the Property and Evidence Division, which were later destroyed. Another clerk, Diane Huff, failed to note that a form attached to the items "was clearly marked to hold these items, as it was still an active case," according to records.

The error was discovered in February when a Clearwater police detective requested that the items be sent out for DNA analysis.

Ponds was suspended for 48 hours and Huff for 16 hours.

The evidence was related to an unsolved rape that was reported in June 2008, when a mentally disabled 18-year-old girl walked away from a group home in Tampa. A man picked her up and drove her to Sand Key Park, where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

"Because all the evidence for the case was destroyed and there is no suspect," records state, "there are no further leads for the detective to investigate at this time."

Pinellas clerks suspended for destroying evidence in unsolved rape case 04/28/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2014 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  2. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  3. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings
  4. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.