81. Palm Coast man sentenced to life in prison for repeated raping of 11-year-old girl on her BR floor

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Shawn Whitt of Palm Coast sentenced to life in priso in 2014 for raping girl, 11 / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® / 
Shawn Everett Whitt, 32, is shown in his Florida Deaprtment of Corrections inmate mug shot where he is serving a life sentence plus 30 years for raping a girl under the age of 12. He is locked up at the all-male Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka.
 

BUNNELL, Fla. – A Palm Coast man accused of raping an 11-year-old girl was convicted after trial by a jury and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years on Sept. 17.

Shaun Everette Whitt, 32, was convicted of sexual battery on a victim under 12 years of age, a first-degree capital felony, and engaging  in sexual conduct with a minor, a first-degree felony.

Assistant State Attorney Christina Opsahl prosecuted the case, outlining the frequent and repeated sexual abuse on the 11-year-old victim by Whitt during the previous year when she was 11 years old.

Physical evidence in the victim's own bedroom and a medical examination presented at trial corroborated her claims that Whitt routinely forced himself on her when she as home alone while her mother was at work.

Jurors took just under an hour to find the defendant guilty as charged to both counts of the information. Circuit Judge David Walsh subsequently sentenced Whitt to life in prison on count one sexual battery with a victim less than age 12 and to an additional 30 years in prison on count two of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor.

The life sentence for Whitt comes in at No. 81 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.

The sexual attacks occurred mostly on the floor of her bedroom, but also on her bed, in her mother's bedroom and on the living room couch. The girl, who investigators say was 11 years old when the sexual abuse began, testified against her abuser for more than two hours.

“I didn't want to believe it happened to me,” said the girl, who cried during most of her time on the witness stand, explaining most of the abuse was on her bedroom floor when her mother was at work. It was then that her attacker would order her to take her clothes off, and lie down, then he would take his off, too, and then rape her.

“There was no one to scream for,” the victim said, explaining why she didn't yell for help while being attacked.

“I didn't want to believe it happened to me,” said the girl, who cried during most of her time on the witness stand, explaining most of the abuse was on her bedroom floor when her mother was at work. It was then that her attacker would order her to take her clothes off, and lie down, then he would take his off, too, and then rape her. 

“There was no one to scream for,” the victim said, explaining why she didn't yell for help while being attacked.

Prosecutor Opsahl told jurors during her opening statement that Whitt's sexual abuse “happened frequently and happened often” until the victim mustered enough courage to tell her mother of the frequent sexual attacks. DNA evidence on carpet fibers in the victim's bedroom corroborated her story.

Whitt, who did not take the stand in his own defense, is serving his life sentence plus 30 years at the all-male Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka. Because he was convicted of a capital offense, he is not eligible for parole.

 

Top 100 Countdown of 2014 / Headline Surfer®RECAP

The HeadlineSurfer.com Countdown of the Top 100 Local Stories of 2014...

Shawn Whitt of Palm Coast sentenced to life in priso in 2014 for raping girl, 11 / Headline Surfer®
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.