Note: This story contains graphic descriptions.
The suspects in the sexual assault and robbery of a Fort Worth woman at her home last week tortured her for an hour: They beat her with a gun, tied her up, covered her head with a pillowcase while they ransacked her apartment and left her tied up in her bedroom, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram on Tuesday.
Marcellus Briggs, 43, and Frankie Kulemba, 39, were arrested Friday and remained in custody at the Mansfield jail this week.
The victim told police that Briggs — who was released from prison on parole last summer after serving less than three years of an 11-year sentence for burglary — sexually assaulted her with his finger during the incident, the affidavit said.
The incident happened early Thursday morning, just after midnight, in the 6000 block of Boca Raton Boulevard, in east Fort Worth, police said.
The victim was at home and heard a knock on her front door. When she looked outside, she saw Kulemba, who appeared to be “in distress,” the affidavit said.
After the victim opened the door, Kulemba and Briggs forced their way inside and tied up the victim’s wrists with a purse strap, she told police. The suspects started beating the victim with a handgun while demanding the PIN number to her debit card, the affidavit said.
Kulemba threatened to kill the victim if she gave them a fake number, the victim told police.
The two suspects then put a pillowcase over the victim’s head and ransacked her apartment, the affidavit said. At one point, Kulemba left the apartment, and Briggs was alone with the victim, the affidavit said.
With the victim still tied up, Briggs told her to take her clothes off, and began sexually assaulting her, the victim told police. He stopped after a receiving a text message, and told her to get dressed. Moments later, Kulemba returned to the apartment, the affidavit said.
The suspects then tied her legs as well as her wrists and left the victim tied up in her bedroom, covered with blankets, as they stole items from the apartment including a television, a laptop, a cellphone and DVDs and video games.
Before leaving, the suspects threatened to kill the victim if she tried to cancel her debit card, the affidavit said.
“It looked like she was just trying to do the right thing,” robbery Detective Brian Raynsford said at a news conference last week. “And she was victimized for it.”
The suspects later went to multiple locations and used the victim’s debit card, including at a convenience store, where surveillance video captured one of the suspects. The video, released by police Thursday night, also showed the suspects’ light-color, older-model Chevrolet Suburban with paper tags.
Anonymous tips from people who viewed the surveillance video helped lead to the arrests, officer David Segura, a police spokesman, said.
According to the affidavit, one tipster told police that Kulemba, while asking if the tipster saw her on the surveillance video, said, “I did something I had no business doing.”
Raynsford called the incident “especially heinous” because of the length of time the suspects were at the victim’s apartment.
“What happened to this victim was not quick,” Raynsford said. “I imagine the emotional toll is going to be extensive.”’
Briggs faces charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, according to jail records.
Kulemba faces charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Both are at the Mansfield jail with bail set at $50,000 for each of their charges.
Long criminal record
Briggs has a lengthy criminal record, according to court documents.
The cases include four prior felony convictions, including two for burglary of a habitation. The most recent conviction was July 2014, when he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released from state prison in June 2016, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst said Tuesday. Briggs had been jailed since his arrest in November 2013.
As part of his plea deal, according to court records, prosecutors agreed to waive his habitual offender status, which could have enhanced his punishment.
The six-member Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles decides whether to release prisoners on parole, weighing factors such as age of first admission to prison, history of parole violations and prior incarerations, according to its website.
A prisoner’s current age and disciplinary history while in custody are also part of the decision.
Briggs was convicted of burglary of a habitation in Arlington in 2007. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released from prison on parole in October 2010, Hurst said.
He also had been convicted of three charges of misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle in 2003 and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
Briggs had been convicted of theft and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance charges in Fort Worth in 1996. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He served those sentences concurrently with a five-year federal prison sentence for using a firearm in the aiding and abetting of a crime, according to court records.
He pleaded guilty to the federal charge in 1995.
Kulemba was convicted of misdemeanor theft in 2008 and sentenced to three days in jail, according to court records.