Closing arguments expected on Wednesday in Bruce Whitehead trial

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says Bruce Wayne Whitehead approached a woman standing with her friends near Sand Lake Road and South Orange Blossom Trail on December 9, 2022.

She said he offered $850 to paint her for an hour, so she got in his car. Her life would never be the same.

"He put the knife to my throat," the alleged victim told jurors Tuesday from the witness stand. "He basically was telling me, ‘Don’t make a sound, or I will kill you.’ I kept saying, ‘Do whatever you want. I have a son. I have to get back to my baby.’"

Prosecutors say he drove her to a wooded area near Pine Hills.

"When he instructed me to lay down, he told me, ‘I said I wasn’t going to kill you, but I am going to cut you up a little bit,’" she recounted.

Whitehead’s alleged victim detailed him cutting her, trying to bite off body parts, putting out cigarettes on her, and sexually battering her. She says she finally got the opportunity to fight him off and run away when his knife faltered as he tried to stab her in the chest.


"I just started kicking and kicking and screaming," she said. "After one of the kicks, he fumbled back. And when he fumbled back, I just jumped up, and I ran."

If convicted, it wouldn't be the first time for Whitehead. In 1986, a jury found him guilty of kidnapping, sexually battering, and stabbing a woman over 30 times in Duval County.

Whitehead chose not to take the stand Tuesday but did speak with the judge while the jurors were out of the courtroom.

"I’ve got stuff going through my head. I’ve got people at the jail trying to kill me. Especially since they’ve publicized it like they have," Whitehead said. "I have so much on my mind."

The judge hoped to have the jury start deliberating on Tuesday, but he and the attorneys on both sides took longer than expected to discuss some legal technicalities.

That means it’ll be at least another day before Whitehead learns whether he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Closing arguments start at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.