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Judge rejects last-minute death row appeal of St. Petersburg rapist, murderer

A judge on Friday morning denied the late appeal of former Pinellas County resident and longtime death row inmate Robert Waterhouse.

Waterhouse, 65, raped and killed Deborah Kammerer of St. Petersburg in 1980. He is scheduled to be executed Feb. 15 in Starke.

On Jan. 2, 1980, Waterhouse was seen leaving the ABC Lounge with Kammerer. He used a beer bottle in his sexual assault and beat her so badly that it took police a few days to figure out who she was after they found her dead in the Lassing Park surf. She was 29.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the death warrant this month.

The crux of Waterhouse's appeal was the testimony of a man who was a bouncer at the bar that night. The man said he saw Waterhouse leaving with two men, not with Kammerer, contradicting what he had told a detective at the time. The detective called the revisionist recollection false. The bouncer conceded, "It was a long time ago."

Waterhouse will be the second Pinellas murderer to be killed by the state within months. Oba Chandler was executed Nov. 15 for killing an Ohio tourist and her two daughters.

Of the nearly 400 people on Florida's death row, only 18 have been there longer than Waterhouse, according to the state Department of Corrections. If his execution happens as planned — Waterhouse's attorney filed a notice of another appeal on Friday afternoon — he will be the longest-serving death row inmate to be executed.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8751. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelkruse.

Judge rejects last-minute death row appeal of St. Petersburg rapist, murderer 01/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2012 10:18pm]
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