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Attacker used a screwdriver

As everyone inside slept, a 37-year-old Clearwater man with a long criminal record broke into his former girlfriend's house and snuck to her bedroom armed with a screwdriver, authorities said Wednesday.

Joseph Josiah Holland Jr. stabbed his former girlfriend and another woman several times early Sunday when they wouldn't give him money, sheriff's spokesman Mac McMullen said.

Both women survived.

Holland eluded authorities until Tuesday, when sheriff's investigators received a tip he was back in Clearwater, McMullen said.

Holland, who faces several charges of attempted felony murder, burglary and kidnapping, remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday. Bail was set at $495,000.

The break-in and stabbing, authorities say, went like this:

Around 6 a.m. Sunday, Holland broke through the back door of the house on 61st Ave N, where his former girlfriend, Sharah L. Pique, 24, lives. He went to her bedroom, woke her up, demanded money and punched her in the nose several times.

When she continued to refuse to give him cash, Holland dragged her into another bedroom and woke Pique's friend, Sarah Galvez, 22.

Holland threatened to kill them if they didn't hand over their money. Moments later, he stabbed both of them repeatedly.

Pique told Holland she had money in her car outside.

He forced her to the front yard and began to search the Ford Explorer.

Pique escaped from Holland and went to a nearby apartment, where a neighbor called 911.

When Holland couldn't find any money in the SUV, he returned to the home and attacked Galvez once more before leaving.

Pique declined medical treatment and Galvez was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

Efforts to contact the women were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

County records show Holland has a long criminal history dating to 1987, when he was charged with selling and possessing cocaine.

His other arrests include charges of aggravated battery and domestic battery.

In 1990, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges and was sentenced to 12½ years in state prison.

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