Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives report that a 54-year-old man from Gallatin, Tennessee has been arrested in connection with a 1998 sexual battery case that occurred in St. Petersburg.
Larry Eugene Gould, who lived in Pinellas County at the time, was taken into custody by Gallatin police on Jan. 10. He is charged with one count of armed sexual battery. Gould was booked into the Sumner County Tennessee Jail, where he awaits extradition to the Pinellas County Jail.
According to detectives, an unknown white male in his mid-20s entered the Carrie Hawkins Distinctive Gifts shop, 5539 Park St. N. in St. Petersburg, about 1:50 p.m. Sept. 24, 1988, and asked the victim, who was working alone, for assistance. During their conversation, the suspect produced a knife and ordered the victim into a back room of the store.
Detectives say the woman, who is now 82-years-old, was threatened and sexually battered at knifepoint before the suspect fled the business.
Deputies responded to the scene, collected evidence, and a sexual assault victim examination was conducted. However, no suspects were identified.
According to a timeline provided by the sheriff’s office, detectives reviewed the case in 1994 by conducting more interviews and additional evidence was submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In 1996, a male DNA profile was developed from the collected evidence. The suspect profile was entered into the local, state and national level of CODIS, but there were no matches. Numerous suspects were developed, but were either eliminated through DNA or incarceration.
Detectives in the Cold Case Homicide Unit began a review of the case in November 2017, and were able to eliminate several suspects with additional DNA samples.
In February 2019, detectives completed a written request with the State Attorney's Office to the FDLE Familial Search Review Committee. The committee reviewed and approved the request to expand the DNA search to possible family members of the suspect.
Detectives were contacted by the FDLE Genetic Genealogy Team on Sept. 6, 2019 and learned that a familial hit had been received. The search revealed a convicted offender in the database was a direct male relative of the unidentified DNA suspect profile.
Using this lead, investigators found Gould was a possible suspect. They say Gould was age 23 at the time of the crime and had lived in Pinellas County.
Detectives contacted the Gallatin Police Department and the Sumner County District Attorney's Office in Tennessee for assistance. On Nov. 15, 2019, the Gallatin Police Department obtained a search warrant to collect a DNA swab directly from Gould. The sample was collected and sent to FDLE for testing.
Detectives were notified by FDLE on Jan. 7 that the DNA sample collected from Gould did match the previously unidentified DNA suspect profile collected from the victim in 1988.
An arrest warrant was obtained through the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office. Gould was taken into custody by the Gallatin Police Department on Jan. 10. He was transported to the Gallatin Police Department in Tennessee and interviewed by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office detectives.
According to detectives, Gould did not dispute the DNA evidence but denied raping anyone. He stated he would have consensual sexual relations with people within their open business and within minutes of meeting them.