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DNA links man with rape

He is charged with three felony counts of sexual battery and one felony count of kidnapping in the Aug. 11 attack.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published September 2, 2005


TAMPA - Two weeks after a woman was raped repeatedly near a nightclub on S West Shore Boulevard, DNA led detectives to a 34-year-old construction worker previously convicted of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.

Tampa police arrested Amos Mequel Busby shortly before noon at a New Tampa construction site, where he was working for Larkin Construction, said police spokesman Joe Durkin.

Busby, 2602 E 25th Ave., was booked into the county jail on three felony counts of sexual battery and one felony count of kidnapping in an attack on a woman near the Green Iguana nightclub on Aug. 11.

The arrest came just a few hours after analysts at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab in Tampa called Detective Mark Sutkoff to say they had good news.

They matched DNA collected from the crime scene to Busby's DNA profile, which was stored in a state database of people convicted of violent crimes such as aggravated battery and carjacking.

"The ultimate thing that made this case is, the FDLE put this at the top of their list and worked fast and came back with a hit," Sutkoff said.

He also lauded the steely resolve of the victim, who returned with detectives to the site of the attack and guided them to the different locations where he raped her over a 31/2-hour period. She also spent four hours with detectives to create a composite sketch of the suspect that was released late last month.

"If it wasn't for her, we never would have made this case," Sutkoff said. "For her to survive, it is a miracle. For her to be strong enough to be this cooperative is truly amazing."

The woman got off work after midnight on Aug. 11 and met friends at the Green Iguana nightclub, 402 S West Shore Blvd., Sutkoff said.

Her friends accidentally left her behind about 3 a.m. She searched the front and back parking lots looking for them, and when she couldn't find them, she started walking north along West Shore. She started calling friends on her cell phone.

Busby - 5 feet 5 and 126 pounds - grabbed her from behind just as she ended a call, according to police. He punched her in the face. Her glasses fell to the ground. He dragged her across the street behind a trash bin and raped her, according to investigators.

Busby told her he was armed and threatened again and again, "I'm going to kill you," Durkin said. He let her get dressed and forced her to walk with him to a field up the street. There, he raped her again, they said. At 6:30 a.m., as daylight broke, he ran off, said Sgt. Julie Massucci, head of the police family violence unit.

Sutkoff said Busby was "cooperative to a certain degree" after officers picked him up Thursday at the construction site at Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and County Line Road.

Busby has a tattoo of a heart on his right arm, and he goes by the nicknames Shorty and Karate Man, criminal records show.

His lengthy criminal history includes a 1990 conviction for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, according to the FDLE. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

He has been out of prison since July 1999, when he was released from the Holmes Correctional Institution after serving nearly seven years following convictions for burglary and robbery.

Sutkoff said the victim, who has a son, is relieved to know her attacker is in jail.

Now, he said, she can focus on recovering from her nightmare.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

[Last modified September 2, 2005, 02:15:35]


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