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Teen to be charged as adult

Officials say he drove the getaway car and pointed police to the wrong rape suspects.

By JAMAL THALJI
Published April 17, 2007


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DADE CITY - The 17-year-old arrested in connection with the rape of two Zephyrhills women will be charged as an adult, according to Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia.

Authorities say teen Andre Brathwaite was the getaway driver in the first attack who pointed detectives to the wrong suspects - days later, the second rape took place.

After the arrests of 18-year-olds Bobby Black and Jathniel McMichael in both attacks, authorities say, Brathwaite changed his story and implicated them.

Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa denied a defense motion on Monday to set a bail amount for McMichael, according to the prosecutor.

Both McMichael and Black remain in the Pasco County jail, held without bail.

Authorities say a 66-year-old woman, living alone in the Winters Mobile Home Park, was raped at knifepoint in the early morning of March 1.

Then on March 27 another woman, a 68-year-old who also lived alone, was attacked in the Ramblewood mobile home park about 2 miles away.

Authorities say the second victim was raped, forced into her own minivan, then thrown down a deep quarry near Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. She climbed out, flagged down a passer-by and called 911.

Brathwaite was arrested on drug and traffic charges on March 7. Later he was charged with home invasion in the first rape and ordered held in juvenile detention.

The adult charges filed against Brathwaite were unavailable Monday.

Black was arrested and charged with two counts of home invasion, two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, battery of a person 65 years of age or older, kidnapping and robbery with a deadly weapon.

McMichael was arrested and charged with two counts of home invasion, two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon, grand theft motor vehicle and possession of marijuana,

Both Black and McMichael face life in prison if convicted.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or 727 869-6236.

[Last modified April 16, 2007, 23:03:59]


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