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Police arrest Tampa man accused of torturing girlfriend

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 09:54 AM
TAMPA -

The torture started two days before Christmas.

The 31-year-old woman was stabbed with an ice pick, cut with a knife and bludgeoned with an iron, police said. She wasn't allowed to leave the house at 3419 E. Deleuil Ave. for six days.

The victim's 6-year-old daughter wasn't spared either. The child witnessed the attacks on her mother and was struck at least once, authorities said.

Tonight, Tampa police and U.S. Marshals arrested Leon Jorge Washington, the man accused of attacking his girlfriend of nine months and her daughter.

Tampa police Sgt. Bill Todd said the woman's ordeal began Dec. 23. The relationship was falling apart, Todd said, and Washington thought the "easiest way to stop that" was to keep her at his home against her will.

"He beat her severely in the presence of her daughter," Todd said. "He's obviously got a cycle of violence going on."

He attacked her with the household items and forced her to perform sexual acts, detectives said. Her hair was cut with scissors typically used to prune plants.

"We found a plastic shopping bag full of her hair," Todd said.

The victim's plight was not known to relatives or friends because she works from home and most of her family members live out of town, police said. But Washington was concerned that an injury to her face needed treatment and allowed the victim's sister to come over to help, Todd said.

Washington told them to go to a drugstore but warned the victim that if she went to a hospital, he would find her and kill her, Todd said.

On Dec. 29, the women took the 6-year-old girl with them, went to a friend's home instead and called police. Washington had left his house on East Deleuil by the time officers got there.

Even with an armed police escort, it took a day to persuade the woman to go to a hospital, Todd said. She has since been treated for her injuries and released from a local hospital. The victim's daughter didn't suffer serious injuries.

Just after 6 p.m. tonight, investigators received a tip Washington was at a mobile home at 7155 Fairview Park Drive. Seven U.S. Marshals, six Tampa police officers and four task force officers went into the home just before 7:30 p.m. Washington, 41, was in a back room and was taken into custody without incident, police said.

He was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and two counts of false imprisonment. He is being held at Orient Road Jail with bail set at $200,000, according to jail records.

Washington has been arrested 10 times in Hillsborough County since 1995 on charges that include domestic violence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and drug possession.


Reporter José Patiño Girona contributed to this report. rreyes@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7920

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