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Crime journal

Published April 6, 2007


Teenager arrested in rape of jogger

ST. PETERSBURG - Jesse Knight, a a 5-foot-11, 290-pound 16-year-old, was arrested Wednesday after witnesses told police he fondled a 5-year-old girl in a back yard. But as police Officer Jennifer Lich looked at Knight, she realized that he resembled the composite sketch of a man wanted for raping a 45-year-old jogger on Monday night. Knight also faces a charge of lewd and lascivious molestation in connection with the incident with the 5-year-old. Police said the girl and Knight knew each other but are not related.


Biker dies of injuries in crash with truck

TAMPA - A motorcyclist who clipped the back of a commercial truck Tuesday at Dale Mabry Highway and Bay to Bay has died, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The motorcyclist, Jorge Diaz , 31, of 4304 W Wisconsin Ave. died at Tampa General Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Ellen Fiss, though she would not give a specific date, citing patient privacy rules. The accident happened at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday when Diaz struck the back of a commercial truck with his motorcycle, sending him into a semitrailer, police say. Diaz, who was not wearing a helmet, was taken to TGH with extensive head injuries, police say.


Man accused of molesting girl, 5

NEW PORT RICHEY - A 28-year-old New Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday on charges of molesting a 5-year-old girl, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. The girl told her grandmother that Wilfred R. Bernacet touched her March 24, the sheriff's report said. The grandmother took the girl to a doctor; the findings of the exam were consistent with the allegation of sexual abuse, the report said. Authorities would not disclose where the alleged abuse occurred, or how Bernacet knew the girl. Authorities arrested Bernacet at his home. He is being held without bail at the Land O'Lakes Detention Center


Officers correct name of man who died on I-4

TAMPA - The man killed Tuesday when he tried to walk across Interstate 4 was Ramiro Briones-Alvarez, 26, of Lakeland, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The FHP initially gave a different last name for Briones-Alvarez, who died after he attempted to cross the interstate's eastbound lanes at 1 a.m. near the Bethlehem Road overpass, troopers say.


Palm Harbor man convicted of abuse

CLEARWATER - A Palm Harbor man faces life in prison when he's sentenced in May for molesting an 8-year-girl in his home three years ago. A jury found Kenneth Ahrens, 46, guilty of capital sexual battery late Wednesday after a two-day trial in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court. Prosecutors called the crime an "ultimate betrayal" because the victim was cared for after school by Ahrens' wife along with their own young daughter. Because prosecutors presented no physical evidence, the jury appeared to have found Ahrens guilty on the strength of testimony from the victim, who is now almost 11. "Certainly, a victim that is mature enough and credible enough to testify in front of the jury ... is also evidence," said Assistant State Attorney Phil Matthey. Senior Assistant Public Defender Greg Williams said Ahrens would appeal.

[Last modified April 6, 2007, 00:25:05]

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