Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge will decide Friday if killer of Tampa police officer will be executed

Cindy Roberts is the wife of police Cpl. Mike Roberts, who was killed in 2009.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times (2011)

Cindy Roberts is the wife of police Cpl. Mike Roberts, who was killed in 2009.

TAMPA — Cindy Roberts has one more court hearing — and one hope: that the man who killed her police officer husband is sentenced to death.

Experts say the judge faces a difficult decision Friday. But Roberts, who was made a single mother by a single bullet, says it's easy.

"The actions that person took that evening warrant the death penalty," said Roberts, widow of Cpl. Mike Roberts.

For her, it's been a long 21/2 years that's seen tears, anxiety, depression and a little boy who talks to his father's headstone.

Her family still sets a place for the slain officer at Thanksgiving. Her son still includes his father in drawings.

But memories of scuba diving, hiking and swimming are becoming more distant.

Cindy Roberts says she misses her husband every day.

In November, Roberts sat through a two-week trial. She felt relief when jurors found Humberto Delgado Jr. guilty of killing her husband. She started shaking when jurors came back with a vote: 8-4 in favor of the death penalty.

On Friday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles will decide whether Delgado deserves to die for his crime.

As for Roberts, it could be the last time she looks at Delgado, a man she refuses to call by name. To her, he's "that man" or "that dirtbag."

"It'll be a very emotional day," she said.

She'll be bolstered by a sea of blue.

During the trial, Tampa police officers wore street clothes. Prosecutors had asked them to leave their uniforms behind. The theory is their appearance could sway the jury.

No one wanted to create fodder for an appeal.

But now that the jury is out of the picture, police no longer worry. They don't believe their uniforms will affect the judge, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Chief Jane Castor emailed the hearing details to the entire agency.

"Everyone is encouraged to attend," she wrote.

Tampa Detective Greg Stout says he'll be there.

Stout, president of the city's police union, sat through every day of the trial except one. He also hopes Judge Battles will choose death.

Delgado knocked Roberts out before shooting him, witnesses testified during the trial.

"(Delgado) could have walked away," Stout said. "But he chose murder."

The defense has argued Delgado is mentally ill. He has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He thought the Masons and even rapper 50 Cent were out to get him.

Doctors for the defense testified that, during the August 2009 shooting, Delgado — who was pushing a shopping cart of weapons along Nebraska Avenue — was impaired by psychotic delusions and paranoia.

"I don't doubt that he has a mental illness, that he believes the Masons were after him," Stout said. "But he's not insane."

Cindy Roberts expects Friday will be a culmination of everything prosecutors have been working toward: "Justice for Mike."

She pauses when she talks about what a death sentence might mean for her.

"Hopefully," she said, "it will in some way bring some kind of closure."

Judge will decide Friday if killer of Tampa police officer will be executed

02/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  4. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  5. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017

    News

    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion."