Crime

Suspect identified in brutal South Beach lifeguard-stand rape

 
 
Blitz Santana Monestine
Blitz Santana Monestine

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

DNA has linked a convicted burglar to a brutal nighttime rape at a South Beach lifeguard stand in May.

Newly released court records show Blitz Santana Monestine, 29, is the chief suspect in the previously unpublicized attack. A second man remains unidentified.

Miami Beach detectives served a warrant recently to obtain a second DNA sample from Monestine, who is in a downtown federal detention center awaiting sentencing in an unrelated federal gun case.

Investigators are awaiting the results of the second DNA test, and have not charged Monestine with sexual battery.

According to a search warrant, the attack took place on May 5 just after a woman in her 20s left Mac’s Club Deuce, 222 14th St. The time: 4:30 a.m.

The woman admitted she was “intoxicated” at the time, but she remembered that a group of men outside the bar “began to insult and scream at her,” according to the warrant.

One of the men began walking with the woman toward the beach. At 17th Street, the man led her up the lifeguard stand. Suddenly, a group of men appeared, “pinned her to the floor,” and raped her, according to the warrant.

“Please stop, please stop. Please let me go,” the woman told detectives she screamed.

“If you scream you are going to die,” she said one of the men told her.

One of the attackers choked her. She injured her hand as she fought, according to the search warrant filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by Miami Beach Detective Gustavo Sanchez.

After the men ran away, the woman staggered to the nearby Ritz Carlton hotel, where a valet called police.

A DNA sample was submitted to the Miami-Dade Police Department crime lab. In September, the match came back to Monestine, of North Miami-Dade.

Monestine’s DNA was already in a law-enforcement database because of his past convictions.

He is no stranger to the law. As a juvenile, Monestine notched arrests for aggravated assault with a firearm and strong-arm robbery. The punishment he received is unknown because juvenile court records are confidential.

As an adult, Monestime was convicted of burglary in 2004. He received probation, which he promptly violated. A judge sentenced him to 364 days in jail.

Since then, Monestime had been arrested 23 times for minor crimes — including 13 times for trespassing.

In September, plainclothes Miami Gardens police detectives were surveilling a shopping plaza when they noticed Monestine peering into cars.

When they tried to stop him, Monestime took off running, throwing away a .32-caliber Iver Johnson revolver. He was immediately captured.

He was charged in federal court with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Court records show he has pleaded guilty, although he has yet to be sentenced. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

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