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Jury finds Dade City man guilty in sexual attack

(ran East edition)

Prosecutor Manny Garcia argued the pictures showed it all: bruises, rug burns and choke marks.

Jurors agreed and after two hours of deliberation Thursday, the panel found 45-year-old Dade City day-laborer Michael Kevin Cutwright guilty of sexual battery and battery in the rape of a 54-year-old woman he met in a bar in June 2003.

Next, Garcia plans to argue Cutwright is a habitual criminal and double the maximum sentence to put him in prison for 30 years.

Cutwright showed no emotion as a clerk read the verdict about 4:30 p.m., and he showed none as a bailiff clipped chrome handcuffs around his thin wrists and led him from the Dade City courtroom.

Ever since his arrest, Cutwright has said he did not rape the woman, an acquaintance from the Quaker Bar in downtown Dade City. His public defender, Dillon Vizcarra, conceded to jurors that Cutwright might have beaten her up after they engaged in drunken, consensual sex.

Garcia, in his closing statement, told jurors that no matter whom they believed _ a sometimes contradictory victim or Cutwright's taped denials _ the pictures deputies took of a battered woman spoke the loudest.

"A picture speaks a thousand words," he said.

He sent jurors back to deliberation with 38 pictures of bruises, some on the victim's inner thighs, and rug burns on her knees and face from when Cutwright allegedly held her to the kitchen carpet.

DNA evidence also linked Cutwright to the attack.

The St. Petersburg Times is not identifying the victim because of the nature of the crime.

Earlier Thursday, Pasco County sheriff's detective Sharon Foshey played an audio tape of her interrogation of Cutwright.

At first, Cutwright denied he knew the victim. Then, when Foshey told him a taxi driver and bartender had already identified him as being with her, he conceded that he knew her, that he had been to her house before.

Then, he admitted he was at her house June 5, 2003, the night she was raped.

But he insisted he didn't touch her.

Cutwright then said he could remember only going to her house and leaving, but he couldn't remember anything that happened while he was there.

"She was drunk, and I was drunk," he said. "I can't remember too much that night. I remember bits and pieces, here and there."

Cutwright's criminal record includes convictions for aggravated assault on a police officer, dealing in stolen property and leaving the scene of a crash and burglary.

Cutwright was convicted Thursday on one count of battery and sentenced to a year in jail, with credit for the year he has already spent in jail. He was also convicted of sexual battery. A sentencing hearing, where Garcia says he will argue Cutwright is a habitual offender, is scheduled for Oct. 29 before Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper.

Up next:Obituaries

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