A Palm Beach County jury is set to decide an aggravated assault case which has dragged on for more than a decade.
The assault allegedly occurred in suburban Lake Worth FL in July 2003. According to prosecutors, the victim was going about her daily business at her townhome in the Willoughby Farms community. Her routine included making coffee and letting her cat out of the house.
The suspect allegedly broke into the home by poking a knife through the verticals of a sliding glass door. He then allegedly grabbed the victim and dragged her upstairs at knifepoint.
At one point, the victim’s husband saw what was happening and tackled the suspect. This caused the intruder and the two victims to fall to the floor.
According to the female victim, the couple’s 16-year-old daughter entered the room and began screaming. Then a friend who had spent the night at the house showed up in the hallway.
The struggle ended with the male victim throwing the suspect down the stairs. The suspect then allegedly ran out of the house and fled the scene.
Police conducted an investigation, but did not identify a suspect for two years. The 38-year-old suspect was eventually placed under arrest in 2005. Police were able to identify him after he was arrested in connection with a different case: the 2004 rape and murder of a Peruvian nanny in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Lake Worth assault case first went to trial in 2007. However, the jury in that trial was unable to arrive at a verdict.
During the trial, the victim took the stand and testified that she believed she was going to die on the day of the alleged attack. She provided the jury with a detailed, graphic account of the events on the day in question.
The suspect’s defense attorneys have raised questions about the suspect’s sanity in the case. According to a psychologist’s evaluation, the suspect is mildly mentally retarded.
The suspect’s defense attorneys have also argued that the suspect is innocent in the case because no DNA was recovered at the scene. Moreover, defense attorneys said, the victim’s initial description of her attacker does not match the suspect.
The suspect has already been sentenced to three life terms in prison for the rape and murder of the nanny in 2004.
For additional information about this case, check out the PalmBeachPost.com article entitled “Suburban Lake Worth Woman Describes Vicious Attack in Wiggins Home-Invasion Trial.”