Florida man who mutilated, sexually assaulted woman in Pine Hills found guilty

Guilty as charged.

That’s the decision that just came down from a jury weighing whether Bruce Whitehead sexually battered and tried to kill a woman in Orange County.

"I’m not a saint, obviously," Whitehead told the judge Wednesday before his conviction. "I’m not looking to walk out the door and go home. I know that’s impossible."

Whitehead’s victim told jurors Tuesday that he cut her, tried to bite off body parts, sexually battered her – and that she only got away when his knife faltered as he tried to stab her in the chest.

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

The State Attorney’s Office pleaded with jurors to consider the evidence before them and decide accordingly.

"You do not need to know why this man committed these acts," the prosecution said.

The state told jurors it wasn’t about the "why," but rather, the fact that he did commit the crimes of which he is accused.

In the courtroom Wednesday, even Whitehead didn’t argue against that.


"There was never a question I was with this person," he said to the judge. "DNA proves that."

His attorney took the same stance. In his closing arguments, he told jurors, "There’s no way I can rebut or refute all this evidence."

Instead, he asked the jurors to "be fair" and consider whether lesser charges might better fit the crime. They wound up choosing the highest possible charge.

Whitehead never took the witness stand, but he did have some back-and-forth with the judge, saying he did not feel adequately represented by his defense attorney.

He said he wanted to call an expert witness to evaluate his mental health.

"To say I tried to eat someone. Do you think that’s a rational, competent mind?" he prompted.

The judge told him he was competent to stand trial, and an insanity plea would mean admitting guilt. He’d entered a plea of not guilty.

In the end, jurors convicted him on every offense, including sexual battery, attempted murder, kidnapping with intent to harm, robbery, aggravated battery, and aggravated assault – all with a deadly weapon. The judge will now decide Whitehead’s sentence.

Whitehead was convicted of a nearly identical crime back in 1986. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison but served only 20, and court records show he then went to the Florida Civil Commitment Center.

The State Attorney’s Office for District 4 told FOX 35 Whitehead was released from there in May 2022, just a few months before prosecutors say he committed the crime he was convicted of today.