Murder trial underway for 6 year old crime - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Murder trial underway for 6 year old crime

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Did 78 year old Audrey Mulligan die as a result of her injuries from a sexual assault, or did she die of other health issues? That's at the crux of the murder trial underway in Pinellas County this week.

Prosecutors said in March of 2007, Virgil Debose talked his way into the St. Petersburg condo of the elderly woman. Investigators said he violently raped her and fractured her hip during the attack.

 With the help of bus surveillance video, investigators tracked Debose down. They were able to link his DNA to semen on Mulligan's clothing. Investigators also found Debose's fingerprints on a newspaper left in the victim's home. Mulligan was hospitalized, and died a month later of an intestinal infection.

" He didn't intend to kill her but he did intend to sexually batter her and we're going to show that as a result of that sexual battery, as a result of that broken hip she received, as a result of the hospitalization, she died," said Fred Schaub, Pinellas Assistant State Attorney.

But defense attorney Keith Hammond told jurors in opening statements today, that the sexual assault injuries did not kill the victim. " You're going to have DNA evidence, you're going to have pictures and video, you're going to have all this stuff about sexual battery, but you're not going to have any scientific evidence about this alleged murder," said Hammond.

Before opening statements today, Debose complained to Pinellas Judge Nancy Moate Ley about the mostly white jury. The judge told him the jury had been legally selected.

 If convicted, Debose would face life in prison.

Debose is also charged with raping a 58 year old disabled woman, five days before the attack on Mulligan.

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