A St. Petersburg man is behind bars after he offered to drive a woman home during a downpour early Wednesday but instead kidnapped her at knifepoint, demanded sex, and bit off the top of her ear as she tried to run away, investigators said.
On Wednesday, just after 3 a.m., Kenneth Brabham was driving in the area around his home on 29th Way N near Sawgrass Lake Park when he spotted a woman walking in the pouring rain, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. Brabham, 48, pulled his truck up beside the woman and offered to give her a ride to her house, his arrest report said. She told investigators she didn’t know the man, but decided to get into his truck anyway and pointed him in the direction of her house.
Brabham followed the woman’s directions, but as they approached her home he kept on driving, investigators said. Instead of turning around, the woman told investigators he picked up a knife and began driving towards Gandy Beach. As he drove, Brabham began to threaten her and demanded sex.
As Brabham pulled his truck onto the sand at Gandy Beach, the woman jumped out the window and tried to run away while screaming for help, she told investigators. She headed towards a nearby gas station and managed to attract the attention of a number of people who called 911 and reported seeing a screaming woman running across Gandy Beach while a man chased her, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Before she could reach the gas station, Brabham caught up to her, the Sheriff’s Office said. He began to beat the woman and was trying to drag her back to his truck when deputies arrived.
According to an arrest report, deputies quickly spotted Brabham and his victim lying in the sand near his truck. The woman had suffered a broken collarbone and the top of her right ear was missing. She told the deputies Brabham had bitten it off.
Brabham admitted he had picked up the woman but denied trying to sexually batter her, the Sheriff’s Office said. The woman was taken to a hospital and is listed in stable condition, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Brabham was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of kidnapping, attempted sexual battery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony. On Thursday, he was still being held without bail in Pinellas County Jail.
Brabham is listed in Pinellas County court records as a “career offender” who has been in and out of state prison since he was 19. In 1998, convicted Brabham of manslaughter and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Records show he was released to family in Ohio on Aug. 6, 2018.
His other charges have included retail theft and burglary, leaving the scene of an accident without rendering aid or calling police, forging checks and stealing credit cards, grand theft of a motor vehicle and carrying a firearm without a license.