St. Pete rapist sentenced to life in prison

St. Pete rapist sentenced to life in prison

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ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The emotion started right away, at the sentencing of Virgil DeBose. "A very very special person was taken away from me" said Diane Simeone. Before DeBose learned his fate for the violent attack and rape on 78-year-old Audrey Mulligan, her best friend took a few moments to tell him what she thinks of him. "Mr. Debose isn't an animal. He's not good enough to be an animal. He's garbage. And what do you do with garbage? You throw it away" said Simeone.

The March 2007 rape sent fear among Mulligan's neighbors at the "Paradise Shores" condo complex in St. Petersburg. Debose asked Mulligan to use her phone, and for a drink. Then he dragged her to a bedroom and raped her.

St. Petersburg police caught up with him after a tipster identified him from video images taken from a PSTA bus, where he would stalk his victims and follow them home.

Detective John Spoor helped lead the investigation and addressed the court. "Mr. DeBose is not different that an animal predator attacking humans. He is a predator. And we have captured him. Now we have a guilty verdict" said Det. Spoor.

Mulligan never returned to her condo after the crime because she developed an infection while in a hospital and died a month later. "She was living her life to the fullest. And this man, for his sexual gratification decided he was going to terminate that life and take it away" said Prosecutor Fred Shaub.

Just 5 days before attacking Mulligan, DeBose raped a mentally-challenged, blind, elderly woman. He plead guilty to that crime.

Before sentencing, the judge heard a warning and a special message.

"I have no doubt that it would occur again" said Detective Spoor.

"This is for you Audrey. He's getting his now honey," said Simeone.

And with that, the Judge sentenced DeBose to 3 life terms, plus another 7 years for the second attack.

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