Friday, May 29, 2009

Security guard at hotel rapes, then pushes spring breaker off hotel roof

A Panama City Beach security guard with arrest warrants from Indiana is now accused of pushing a 18 year old woman off the 6th floor of a hotel that he worked at after raping her. The attack occurred at around 1 AM Tuesday morning. The woman, who had gone to Spring Break from her hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL, is in the hospital suffering from non-lifethreatening injuries because she was fortunate enough to hit two other roofs.

Shawn Wuertly, 29, has arrest warrants out for burglary from Indiana, and his past Indiana arrest record features charges of escape, intimidation, and a second burglary charge. He's facing attempted murder, sexual battery, and false imprisonment charges in this incident.

Police say Wuertly and the teenager did not know each other before she came to Panama City Beach but Wuertly apparently made contact with her several times. He works as a security guard at the Sandpiper Beacon and has been in town about 6 months.

Major David Humphreys of the Beach Police says Weurtly’s name came up right away.

"He was identified at the scene as a possible suspect. He was interviewed here at the Beach police department. There was not enough evidence to charge him at the time. When we gathered enough evidence we could not locate him. We had phone conversations with him and he indicated he was leaving the state."

Beach Police took this picture of Wuertly Monday morning, when they first questioned him about the incident.

They say he is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black jacket with a yellow shirt and woodland camouflage pants. Wuertly also has two visible tattoos on his neck.

Humphreys says Wuertly does not have a car so he could possibly still be in the area although he told police he was going to visit family in Tennessee.

Update (3-19-08) - Wuertly is captured in the area of Fountain, FL, after hiding in the woods. Three Panama City Beach police officers were reprimanded for letting him go after he was detained, then released.

Tuesday, he was booked into the Bay County Jail on charges of attempted felony murder, sexual battery and false imprisonment. Investigators obtained a search warrant to take hair and other samples from his body before turning him over to the jail.

Update (5-29-09) Wuertly was convicted of sexual battery and aggravated battery during a jury trial in March of this year. Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced Wuertly to the maximum sentence of 30 years for the Class 1 Florida felonies, but did not order the perp to pay for the costs of the rape investigation.

[P]rosecutor Rob Sale said Friday he forgot to ask Overstreet to reserve the issue for later ruling. Sale asked the judge on Friday to treat a motion for restitution as a request to modify Wuertley's sentence to include the investigative costs and expense of flying in and housing witnesses, which were: $4,300 to the State Attorney's Office, $2,000 to the Panama City Beach Police Department and $16 to the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Overstreet did not grant the prosecution's request because it would increase Wuertly's sentence, but did order Wuertly to pay $10,345 to the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation.

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