Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

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

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."

Comments
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Deputies arrested a man late Friday they say shot and killed Durant High School football player Grover Wills.Samuel Morrissey Jr., 20, was being held without bail Saturday at the Hillsborough County jail and faces a second-degree murder charge, accor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to unlock his phone

Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to unlock his phone

Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal. What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate.
Updated: 3 hours ago
A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

The young man in a white jail jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled, looked past the throng of reporters pointing microphones toward his face, barely opening his mouth as he answered questions."I shot through the door," he said, looking at a female repor...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Deputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

A Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

CLEARWATER — Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Updated: 6 hours ago