Sheriff: Clearwater woman stabbed to death; DNA tied suspect to murder

Last Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2012, 1:12 PM EDT

The man accused of murdering a Clearwater woman July 14 allegedly followed her home from a bar, sexually assaulted her and stabbed her to death.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Wednesday that Thomas Hampton Frederick, 23, was arrested for the murder of Adrianne F. Robert, 29, following an investigation that reportedly matched his DNA to the crime scene.

Gualtieri said the investigation showed Robert and her roommate went to Diamond Dolls night club at 16361 Hwy. 19 N. before her death for drinks in a celebratory night out. Robert was planning to move out of the apartment the next day.

The pair met and became acquainted with Frederick at the bar sometime during the night, Gualtieri said.

When Robert decided to leave around 1:30 a.m., she began to walk the roughly 1.3 miles to her home because she and her roommate originally walked to the bar because they had already been drinking before they left their apartment, Gualtieri said.

Her roommate decided to stay at the bar.

Investigators said surveillance video at the bar showed the suspect also left, caught up with Robert and gave her a black shawl that she apparently left behind on a chair. The suspect and Robert were seen walking away together toward her home, Gualtieri said.

At the home, there were no signs of forced entry, but there were signs of struggle found in her apartment in the 2900 block of Pinecone Circle in unincorporated Clearwater. Robert was stabbed and sexually assaulted after the apparent struggle, Gualtieri said.

She was found unresponsive in her bathroom by her roommate when he came home just after 3:30 a.m. She was partially clothed, wearing only a bra, and had been stabbed once in the upper left chest. She was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Her personal car, an orange Jeep, was missing from the home and was found later in the day by Largo Police.

Even though the video allegedly showed Frederick, investigators did not immediately contact him because they were able to obtain his cell phone number and name after he used a cab get to the club. He was identified as a suspect by July 16.

He was put under surveillance for two weeks and investigators finally got a break when he tossed a cigarette butt out a window. Investigators used DNA taken from the cigarette butt to tie Frederick to the murder, they said. A hole had been cut out of the sheet on her bed in an apparent attempt by the suspect to remove his DNA from the scene, but it was still in the mattress, investigators said.

Frederick was arrested without incident by deputies near Bryan Dairy Road and 114th Avenue. He allegedly told deputies where he put the knife and sheet from the crime, but they said they are still looking for that evidence.

Investigators said Frederick made "certain admissions," but are not discussing further details of what he may have said.

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It was first reported the victim left the bar before her roommate. The chronology has since been updated.