Bradenton man's sentence for attempted rape reduced from 50 years to 22 years

jdeleon@bradenton.comJanuary 16, 2014 


MANATEE -- A 22-year-old Bradenton man convicted of breaking into a woman's home and trying to rape her her had his sentence reduced to 22 years in prison Wednesday.

Joshua O'Berry, originally sentenced to 50 years in prison by Manatee County Judge Scott Brownell, won an appeal granting resentencing. His sentence was trimmed 28 years Wednesday by Manatee County Judge John Lakin.

O'Berry was arrested May 7, 2011, shortly after he broke into a trailer at Tidevue Estates in Ellenton and tried to rape a woman.

As the woman approached her bedroom door, armed with a baseball bat, O'Berry pulled the door open.

"She swung at the suspect with the bat but is unsure if she struck the suspect," a sheriff's office news release stated."The suspect took the bat away from the victim and pushed her to the ground."

The victim said she did not have any money, but the suspect said "he was not there for the money."

Responding deputies saw a man — later identified as O'Berry — running between nearby trailers and eventually found him hiding in the bed of a pickup truck.

The case was reopened Sept. 18, 2013, after a ruling from the 2nd District Court of Appeals of Florida.

O'Berry filed a motion to retract his no-contest plea to a charge of attempted sexual assault in December 2011 following his sentencing, claiming the State Attorney's Office had broken a plea agreement to recommend 40 years in prison, according to court records.

At the initial sentencing, Assistant State Attorney Rory Zinna recommended life in prison, but he later acknowledged the initial offer during the hearing.

"In this case, although the record supports the state's position that it offered a 40-year plea deal that Mr. O'Berry rejected, it also supports Mr. O'Berry's claim that the state had promised to recommend a 40-year sentence and failed to uphold its end of the bargain," Chief Judge Charles Davis wrote in a July opinion.

The state maintains O'Berry did not deserve leniency from the original sentence.

"When you plea open you are at the mercy of the court," State Attorney Ed Brodsky said.

Trial judges are permitted to go beyond sentencing recommended by prosecutors, he said.

"We are extremely disappointed in the significant reduction of this sentence," Brodsky said.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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