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Knife attack yields new charges

Police think the suspect robbed a home and then returned and stabbed a woman.

By BILL VARIAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000


CRYSTAL RIVER -- Investigators have alleged that the man accused of stabbing a woman more than a dozen times late last month broke into her home twice that day.

The State Attorney's Office on Thursday filed additional charges of burglary and grand theft against Alexander Roscow Whaley, the accused attacker.

Crystal River police say the new charges arose after they searched Whaley's home, which is a few blocks from the victim's apartment. They found several of the woman's possessions, including a stereo, jewelry and food.

Whaley was arrested shortly after the attack. Police found him near the woman's residence with little more than the partly burned pants he was wearing. Investigators believe he must have burglarized her apartment while the woman was away, stashed her possessions at his house, then returned to the apartment.

"It's definitely creepy," said Crystal River Detective Corey Sharpe.

Whaley, 38, of 332 NW Crystal St., Crystal River, was initially charged with burglary while armed and attempted first-degree murder in the June 24 attack.

Investigators said Whaley broke into the apartment of a 22-year-old health care worker when the woman was not home. He later ambushed her in the bedroom, then stabbed her as many as 16 times with a knife from her kitchen, the investigators said.

Police said Whaley demanded sex from the woman. She refused.

On July 12, the state attorney's office added charges of attempted sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Those charges were filed after investigators, along with Assistant State Attorney Lisa Herndon, visited the victim's home to visualize her detailed account of what happened.

"(Whaley) basically said give me sex and I will not hurt you," Herndon said, explaining the added charges. "She was fighting her way out."

Assistant Public Defender Mark Rodriguez, Whaley's attorney, declined to speak in detail about the case, saying he had not seen the latest charges and is still awaiting more details of the investigation.

"We're not going to comment on the case until all the evidence is received," he said. "Then we'll see what we are dealing with."

Whaley was held at the Citrus County Detention Facility without bail. He previously spent seven years in prison on charges of abduction, rape and attempted murder in the 1983 stabbing of a convenience store clerk in the Crystal River area.

The Citrus Times is withholding the name of the victim in the June case because of the nature of the charges.

Police have not found the knife used in the attack, despite enlisting law enforcement academy cadets to search woods near the woman's apartment, which is near Crystal River Middle School.

The woman was hospitalized at Shands at the University of Florida for about a week. She has had to return for care because one of the stab wounds to her back has a recurrent infection to a bone that was hit, Sharpe said.

She has a difficult time talking about the incident, Sharpe said. He was planning to speak to the woman Whaley attacked in 1983 to see how she coped afterward.

The recent victim "is doing fairly well," Sharpe said. "She's got a lot of family support, which is helping her quite a bit. But her memory of this is going to haunt her for quite some time."

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