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Son of victim testifies against man at murder trial

LARGO — Rosemary Christensen was stabbed to death in 1998, but it wasn't until Thursday that her sons, friends and co-workers were able to testify against Robert Glenn Temple, the man accused of killing her.

They joined the state's star witness, Temple's former girlfriend Lesley L. Stewart, in the case against Temple, who is acting as his own attorney.

The most dramatic moment on Thursday may have been the unusual exchange between Temple and one of Christensen's sons, Oliver Van Vollenhoven, who flew all the way from the Netherlands to take the witness stand.

At one point Van Vollenhoven looked at the man accused of killing his mother and asked: "Why don't you show any remorse?"

"Because I didn't kill your mother," Temple said.

"I don't understand why you don't just man up, you're almost dead. Why don't you just man up and just tell everybody what happened?" Van Vollenhoven said.

"I did and nobody wants to believe me," Temple said.

Temple, 61, who is in a wheelchair, suffers from many ailments and has previously said in an aside: "I'm dying but that's beside the point."

The back-and-forth was an unusual moment in this unusual trial, and might not have happened if Temple was represented by an attorney, as witnesses don't usually get to question defendants in the courtroom.

Stewart, 34, Temple's former girlfriend, spent more than an hour testifying Thursday and is expected to resume this morning. She said she talked with to Temple for hours one night in August 1999 in his Belleair condo, and finally entered the bedroom to discover Christensen's body in a pool of blood on the carpeted floor.

Temple claimed Christensen had come at him with a knife, and the blade cut her in the struggle, Stewart said. She acknowledged helping to clean the apartment and dispose of the body because Temple convinced her that police would think she was responsible and send her to prison.

She broke into tears at one point as she described Temple's efforts to clean up Christensen's body. She apologized to the court and said, "I don't like re-living this."

Stewart came forward to authorities in 2008 and named Temple as the killer. She also led them to the spot near the Suwannee River where Christensen was buried in a plastic tub.

Earlier Thursday, Temple's former co-workers from a Clearwater call center described him as someone who constantly bragged to female co-workers about sex.

"He talked about sex all the time, practically the whole shift … about how he liked to party. He would ask us if we wanted to join in," said Brenda Miller. She worked in the late 1990s with Temple at a call center in Clearwater that handled credit card payments from people wanting to talk to "hot girls" and psychics.

Son of victim testifies against man at murder trial 07/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011 9:46pm]
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