Pinellas suspect faces trial for rape, murder of elderly in 2007

Pinellas suspect faces trial for rape, murder of elderly in 2007

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

Alleged serial rapist Virgil DeBose is facing trial this week at the Pinellas Justice Center for the sexual assault and murder of an elderly woman in St. Petersburg who police say tried to help him six years ago. Jury selection started today.

Investigators say DeBose knocked on the door of 78-year-old Audrey Mulligan the day he raped her in March 2007, saying his car had broken down and he needed to use the telephone.

Police say DNA evidence links DeBose to the rape of Mulligan but defense attorneys will likely argue he was not responsible for Mulligan's death a month later in St. Petersburg General Hospital. She was recovering there from a hip fracture she suffered during the rape.

Pinellas prosecutors say Mulligan's death was a direct result of her rape-related injuries. They've charged DeBose with felony murder along with rape.

Regardless of the outcome of this case DeBose faces trial in other sexual assaults. In one case the victim was a 58-year old mentally disabled woman.

Police say DeBose stalked his victims while riding on Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority buses and followed them home. Video of DeBose riding a PTSA bus lead to a tip that helped police identify DeBose as a suspect.

DeBose had a lengthy criminal record prior to his arrest in 2007.

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