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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

St. Pete man convicted of murdering and raping 78-year-old woman

Published:   |   Updated: May 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM
CLEARWATER -

CLEARWATER During his three-day trial on murder and rape charges, Virgil DeBose told a circuit judge he thought half the jury considering his fate should be black, as he is.
 
At another point, he complained that prosecutors were trying to “tie me to a murder I didn’t commit.”
 
He didn’t react much Friday, though, after a jury found him guilty of murder in the death of a 78-year-old woman he brutally raped six years ago. Nor did he make a statement before Pinellas Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences.
 
The 12-member jury found Debose, 48, guilty of felony murder, sexual battery and burglary/battery in the death of Audrey Mulligan. They deliberated for less than two hours.
 
DeBose raped Mulligan on March 12, 2007, at her condominium at the Paradise Shores condominium complex in St. Petersburg. She fractured her pelvis when he threw her to the floor, and she died 35 days later in a hospital from an infection. Prosecutors argued DeBose caused her death, and the jury agreed.
 
Once convicted, DeBose pleaded guilty to another rape — that of 58-year-old Frances Krastin, whom he sexually assaulted five days before raping Mulligan, less than three miles away. Krastin, a mentally-challenged woman with one eye, has since died from natural causes, Assistant State Attorney Fred Schaub said.
 
The two consecutive life sentences are essentially for both crimes. There was another elderly woman said to have been raped by DeBose, but she didn’t cooperate with St. Petersburg police, investigators have said.
 
“He preys on people who can’t take care of themselves,” Schaub told the judge. “There is nothing more disgusting in society than someone who would do that.”
 
Ley called the assault on Mulligan “particularly frightening.”
 
“Her dignity, her life, her freedom, her everything was taken away by whatever it was that caused you to think your actions were justified,” the judge told DeBose.
 
Mulligan was remembered as a woman who took care of her neighbors in the 55-and-older complex where she lived, buying groceries for them when they couldn’t. She was also a mainstay at the 49th Street Flea Market, where she had a booth. That’s where she met her best friend, Diane Simeone, who spoke at DeBose’s sentencing.
 
After the lead detective likened DeBose to a predatory animal, Simeone said that wasn’t the best comparison.
 
“Mr. DeBose isn’t an animal. He isn’t good enough to be an animal,” Simeone, 64, told the judge. “He’s garbage. And what do you do with garbage? You throw it away.”
 
DeBose picked his targets while riding Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority buses, then followed them to their homes, according to investigators. He was identified after detectives released his photograph, taken from a camera on a PSTA bus.
 
He went to Mulligan’s home and asked to use the phone, saying his car had broken down. Once inside, he also asked for something to drink, according to police reports.
 
Then he grabbed her by the throat, dragged her to a bedroom and threw her on the floor, where he raped her, court records say.
 
Five days before he raped Mulligan, he was on a PSTA bus when he spotted Krastin, Schaub told the judge. He got off at the stop after hers, and followed her to her apartment complex. She heard a knock on the door and when she opened it, her cat ran out.
 
She asked him to grab the cat, which DeBose did before barging in and raping her, Schaub said. Police reports say he raped her, then threatened to kill her if she didn’t perform a sex act on him. He also stole $60.
 
Five days before that, a man matching DeBose’s description made his way into the unlocked apartment of an 84-year-old woman, picked her up out of her recliner and carried her to her bedroom, where he raped her or tried to, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. Police did not pursue the case because the victim did not cooperate with investigators.
 
The day before Mulligan was raped, a man matching DeBose’s description went to the screen door of a 72-year-old woman and asked to use the telephone, according to police records. She said she didn’t have it with her and shut the door. No charges were filed because no crime was committed.
 
 
 

During his three-day trial on murder and rape charges, Virgil DeBose told a circuit judge he thought half the jury considering his fate should be black, as he is.
At another point, he complained that prosecutors were trying to “tie me to a murder I didn’t commit.”
He didn’t react much Friday, though, after a jury found him guilty of murder in the death of a 78-year-old woman he brutally raped six years ago. Nor did he make a statement before Pinellas Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences.
The 12-member jury found Debose, 48, guilty of felony murder, sexual battery and burglary/battery in the death of Audrey Mulligan. They deliberated for less than two hours.
DeBose raped Mulligan on March 12, 2007, at her condominium at the Paradise Shores condominium complex in St. Petersburg. She fractured her pelvis when he threw her to the floor, and she died 35 days later in a hospital from an infection. Prosecutors argued DeBose caused her death, and the jury agreed.
Once convicted, DeBose pleaded guilty to another rape — that of 58-year-old Frances Krastin, whom he sexually assaulted five days before raping Mulligan, less than three miles away. Krastin, a mentally-challenged woman with one eye, has since died from natural causes, Assistant State Attorney Fred Schaub said.
The two consecutive life sentences are essentially for both crimes. There was another elderly woman said to have been raped by DeBose, but she didn’t cooperate with St. Petersburg police, investigators have said.
“He preys on people who can’t take care of themselves,” Schaub told the judge. “There is nothing more disgusting in society than someone who would do that.”
Ley called the assault on Mulligan “particularly frightening.”
“Her dignity, her life, her freedom, her everything was taken away by whatever it was that caused you to think your actions were justified,” the judge told DeBose.
Mulligan was remembered as a woman who took care of her neighbors in the 55-and-older complex where she lived, buying groceries for them when they couldn’t. She was also a mainstay at the 49th Street Flea Market, where she had a booth. That’s where she met her best friend, Diane Simeone, who spoke at DeBose’s sentencing.
After the lead detective likened DeBose to a predatory animal, Simeone said that wasn’t the best comparison.
“Mr. DeBose isn’t an animal. He isn’t good enough to be an animal,” Simeone, 64, told the judge. “He’s garbage. And what do you do with garbage? You throw it away.”
DeBose picked his targets while riding Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority buses, then followed them to their homes, according to investigators. He was identified after detectives released his photograph, taken from a camera on a PSTA bus.
He went to Mulligan’s home and asked to use the phone, saying his car had broken down. Once inside, he also asked for something to drink, according to police reports.
Then he grabbed her by the throat, dragged her to a bedroom and threw her on the floor, where he raped her, court records say.
Five days before he raped Mulligan, he was on a PSTA bus when he spotted Krastin, Schaub told the judge. He got off at the stop after hers, and followed her to her apartment complex. She heard a knock on the door and when she opened it, her cat ran out.
She asked him to grab the cat, which DeBose did before barging in and raping her, Schaub said. Police reports say he raped her, then threatened to kill her if she didn’t perform a sex act on him. He also stole $60.
Five days before that, a man matching DeBose’s description made his way into the unlocked apartment of an 84-year-old woman, picked her up out of her recliner and carried her to her bedroom, where he raped her or tried to, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. Police did not pursue the case because the victim did not cooperate with investigators.
The day before Mulligan was raped, a man matching DeBose’s description went to the screen door of a 72-year-old woman and asked to use the telephone, according to police records. She said she didn’t have it with her and shut the door. No charges were filed because no crime was committed.


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