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DNA in sex assault linked to 1999 rape

A man accused of attacking a child is charged in the unsolved case of a 77-year-old woman.

By LEANORA MINAI
Published July 23, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG - Armed with a box cutter, the intruder climbed through a bathroom window, then raped and beat a 77-year-old woman so severely she had to be hospitalized.

The 1999 crime went unsolved for 31/2 years. But last week, St. Petersburg detectives got a break.

DNA from a man charged with raping a young girl two months ago was plugged into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's DNA database and linked to evidence from the 1999 rape.

"It's the same guy," said St. Petersburg police Sgt. Katy Connor-Dubina.

On Monday, police charged Maurice "Ali" Brown, 38, with raping the 77-year-old woman in her Jordan Park home in 1999.

Brown, a former day laborer, has been in the Pinellas jail since May 11 when he was arrested and charged with kidnapping and raping an 8-year-old girl in a vacant house at 1806 14th Ave. S.

Investigators are disturbed that the victims come from both ends of the age spectrum.

"Rape isn't sexual," said Connor-Dubina, the sergeant. "It's all power control, and this is a classic example of it."

In the 1999 case, Brown is accused of climbing through a window of the 77-year-old's apartment about 4 a.m. Dec. 4.

The woman asked the man what he was doing there. He told her if she behaved and gave him what he wanted, he would leave.

She was beaten and raped.

Detectives worked leads, interviewed people and tried unsuccessfully to match a fingerprint lifted from a bathtub.

On Dec. 10, 2000, police arrested Brown on charges he raped a 35-year-old woman at 1045 11th St. S. But five months later, a jury acquitted Brown of sexual battery. Brown escaped detection as a possible suspect in the rape of the elderly woman in 1999 because his DNA from the 2000 incident didn't end up in the state's DNA database for comparison.

Because Brown acknowledged having sex with his accuser in 2000, claiming it was consensual, prosecutors didn't need or request his DNA.

About 10 a.m. May 11, police said, Brown kidnapped the girl and took her to a vacant house, where she was sexually assaulted.

Police got a court order to take a saliva sample from Brown in jail. The DNA matched a sample in the database from the 1999 rape of the elderly woman.

- Leanora Minai can be reached at minai@sptimes.com or 727 893-8406.

[Last modified July 23, 2003, 01:18:16]


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