Crime

Home invasion suspect Smith appears in court

SARASOTA — A man suspected of brutally beating numerous women in their homes in Sarasota and Manatee appeared in court Tuesday.

Delmer Smith, 38, who went before a Sarasota judge on an unrelated charge of battery stemming from an Aug. 14 bar fight in Venice, will be back in court Sept. 7.

The case was continued because Smith’s attorney told the court he had not been provided all of the materials from the prosecutor. Also, several witnesses were not located for depositions with attorneys.

A man told Venice police Smith attacked him, reportedly after telling Smith to stop video recording his girlfriend on the dance floor.

The battery charge violated Smith’s probation after he was convicted in 1995 for robbing a bank. He served 15 years in prison.

Authorities searched a storage bin used by Smith and found belongings from some of the women in the home invasion attacks.

Many of the victims were bound and beaten in their homes last year. Two of the women in Sarasota cases were raped during the attacks, according to authorities.

In October, Smith was charged with home invasion, sexual battery and false imprisonment by Sarasota authorities.

Authorities in Manatee County still consider Smith a suspect in the attacks, but he has not been charged.

He also has not been ruled out as a suspect in the slaying of Kathleen Briles in her Terra Ceia home, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office officials.

Sarasota detectives were able to recover DNA evidence linking Smith to the scene of four of the attacks.

Smith’s DNA did not initially get a match in the federal database; due to a backlog, it had not been entered into the system at the time of the attacks.

He is expected to go to trial on those charges Nov. 8 and remains in Sarasota County jail without bond. He has been sentenced to two years in prison for violating his federal probation.

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