In May of 2011, a 24-year-old woman called 911 to report she had been raped near Ybor City. What she did in the hours after the call gained international attention for the case. Tampa police had not released any information about the crime, when the victim sent out her own news release of sorts to the world about what had happened.
She tweeted about the attack.
WFLA is not revealing the identity of the victim, due to the nature of the crime.
The trial of her alleged attacker, Charles Newbold, is now underway. During testimony Wednesday, the woman told the jury that she owns a web site and that she was working to build a business when the attack occurred.
She says it changed her life.
The victim says she was paid to tweet about events. After the attack, she told reporters she tweeted about the crime because she needed the immediate support of friends.
Not long after she reported being raped, police arrested 28 year old Newbold and charged him with the crime. In opening arguments, Newbold's attorney told jurors his client met the victim the night before in Ybor City and they flirted with each other. The next morning, attorney Marc Joseph told jurors that his client saw the woman again. Joseph says, "He said that they started making out in front of the bus and then she decided, let's go inside the bus." Joseph says his client and the woman had consensual sex.
"There was no refusal, there was no, saying, no not right now, let's not do this, none of that." Joseph says Newbold tried to lift the woman and they fell over and broke furniture, that's when he says the woman grew angry and demanded that Newbold pay for the damage. When he refused, Joseph says the woman kicked Newbold off of the bus and claimed rape.
A short time later, the victim took the stand with a much different story. The victim says she had never seen Newbold before he broke into her school bus. She says she was trying to sleep, when she saw the defendant inside the bus, he was already exposed and was starting to masturbate.
The victim says Newbold then lunged at her. "The next thing I remember is his arm around my neck and he's forcing me down on the ground." The victim says she wasn't sure she would survive, "He then forces his arm around my neck so hard that I can't turn my head to breathe and I'm scrambling my head to breathe, I can't breathe and I'm scrambling, trying to get him to let me go."
The victim says she eventually was able to escape and run for help. She found a woman in a parking lot and called 911.
The Tampa Police officer who was the first to respond says he found the victim crying hysterically. Police later found a condom outside of the victim's bus with Newbold's DNA.
A Tampa jury is expected to be asked to decided the case tomorrow.
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