Marion County man found guilty of armed kidnapping, sex battery



MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A jury declared a suspected Marion County serial rapist guilty of both armed kidnapping and three counts of sexual battery on Wednesday.

Michael Frye was set to take the stand Wednesday to tell his side of the story, but he suddenly backed out.

"I advised him not to take the stand. I advised him it's his decision, 100 percent. But I think he agreed with my advice," said defense attorney Jack Nugent.

It took the jury just 80 minutes to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors said Frye snatched a 43-year-old mother of four and grandmother of five off an Ocala street, drove her to a secluded area in his van and forced her to perform oral sex.

Authorities said Frye is connected to at least three rapes during the summer and fall of 2011 and maybe as many as five. The victim in the case said she was beaten and in fear for her life.

"He kept on saying for me to shut up because he was going to kill me," the victim told the jury.

The victim was able to identify Frye partly by his tattoos. There was also DNA evidence -- Frye's blood was found on the victim's hand. But the defense labeled the victim a crack user and insisted the police themselves suspected she was a prostitute.

"She got in that van voluntarily," said Nugent.

Frye admitted to police he'd picked up prostitutes.

"Yes, I have. I admit it. But I have forced nobody. I never have and never," said Frye.

Frye could now face as much as life in prison. He will be sentenced in about six weeks.