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Suspect held in violent attack, rape in St. Petersburg

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg man is facing three counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and drug charges after investigators say he brutally attacked and raped a woman.

Authorities say 44-year-old Richard Taormino met the victim at the Wawa gas station on 4th Street North on Nov. 24.

Taormino was sitting at one of the outside tables and began speaking with the woman. The victim told Taormino her bike tire needed to be fixed and agreed to walk with him so he could fix it.

Investigators told 8 On Your Side Taormino walked the woman down 87th Avenue North into a mobile home park. They say she had no idea the park was abandoned.

Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Petersburg Police Department said that’s when Taormino pulled out a butcher knife.

“They were just walking down the road when he put the knife to her throat and forced her into the trailer,” said Fernandez. “And then he became very physical and beat her and at that point, she was not able to resist.”

Once inside the trailer, no one was around to hear her screams or cries for help.

“And he held her captive, he beat her severely, he sexually assaulted her, he put her in handcuffs,” said Fernandez. “He tied her up and she was helpless.”

At some point, the woman was able to get away and notified authorities.

Investigators are now working with other local agencies to see if Taormino may have done this before. They are also analyzing his DNA.

At his first appearance before a judge Thursday afternoon, the judge ordered that he be held without bond.

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