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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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St. Pete man accused of attacking women downtown loses plea deal

CLEARWATER — It looked as if the deal were all set.

James Alex Wilborn Jr., 32, who has already been convicted of assaulting four women outside a downtown St. Petersburg music venue, was to be sentenced to 15 years in prison today after pleading to assaulting two other women outside a downtown club.

Then the woman injured the worst in Wilborn’s alleged assault approached Circuit Judge Philip Federico and told him she wanted Wilborn off the streets for longer than that.

Kate Dellangelo, a 33-year-old nurse, slapped Wilborn in the face after he hiked her dress over her head outside the Push Lounge during New Year’s celebrations in 2011, according to St. Petersburg police reports.

Wilborn, of 4601 Fifth Ave. S. in St. Petersburg, then stabbed her several times, causing one of her lungs to collapse, a police report states.

“He’s a danger,” Dellangelo told Federico. “He almost killed me. He’s going to do it again.

“I just want him off the streets.”

Over the objections of Wilborn’s defense attorney, Kelly McCabe, Federico acquiesced.

Then the judge made arrangements to select a jury for a trial, which started today.

Federico could have accepted the plea in spite of Dellangelo’s wishes but opted not to, Assistant State Attorney Greg Baird said outside court.

Wilborn faces one count of aggravated battery and one count of felony battery in the assault on Dellangelo and her friend, Melissa Gambone, 32.

Wilborn is accused of grabbing the women’s behinds as they were leaving the Push Lounge, at 128 Third St. S., about 2:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011, according to a St. Petersburg police report.

He ran off after Dellangelo yelled at him but then reappeared as the two women were on their way to a nearby shopping center to call a cab. He hiked Dellangelo’s dress over her head and stabbed her, authorities say.

About a year before, on Jan. 19, 2010, Wilborn approached a 19-year-old woman from behind, outside the State Theatre, and lifted her dress, police reports state. After words were exchanged, Wilborn punched her in the face, knocking the woman and her friend to the ground, the report states. Two other women came to their aid, and Wilborn pushed them to the ground, too.

In July, 2010, Wilborn pleaded to four counts of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to six months in jail and 12 months of probation, said Assistant State Attorney Nate Vonderheide.

Federico will allow prosecutors to introduce the assault on the four women in the case involving Dellangelo and Gambone, Vonderheide said outside court.

Wilborn was released in March 2012 in the New Year’s attack. Two months later, on May 2, 2012, he tried to pick up an 18-year-old woman inside the Scene night club, asking for her telephone number, police report states.

After she refused and walked outside, Wilborn followed her and smashed a liter glass wine carafe on the back of her head, knocking her to the ground. A hair piece she was wearing prevented serious injury, the report states.

Federico is not allowing prosecutors to introduce that allegation to illustrate a continuing pattern of criminal behavior, Vonderheide said. He has yet to be convicted in that case.

Had Federeico accepted Wilborn’s plea Monday, he could have been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years behind bars because he is what’s known as a prison release re-offender, Baird said.

In 1997, Wilborn, then 16, was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1995 stabbing death of his father, according to records. He served 11 years of a 17-year prison sentence and was released in 2008.

If convicted at trial, Wilborn could be sentenced to 30 years in prison because he would be considered a habitual violent offender, Baird said.

His trial is expected to last several days.

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