Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trial begins in death of Pinellas graphic designer

Thomas Hampton Frederick, 25, shown in court Wednesday, is accused of murdering Adrianne Robert of Clearwater on July 13, 2012.


Thomas Hampton Frederick, 25, shown in court Wednesday, is accused of murdering Adrianne Robert of Clearwater on July 13, 2012.

LARGO — On this, prosecutors and defense attorneys agree: Thomas Hampton Frederick, 25, killed Adrianne Robert on July 13, 2012.

Prosecutors say Frederick murdered Robert, a 29-year-old graphic artist, after meeting her at a strip club and going back to her Clearwater townhouse. He stabbed her, left her to die in a bathroom and stole her Jeep, they say.

Defense attorneys say Frederick and Robert had consensual sex and that Robert became angry afterward. It was she, public defender Lori Mahin said, who attacked him with a knife. In Frederick's struggle to defend himself, she said, Robert was stabbed.

In the state's opening statement, prosecutor Noelle Festa recounted the night of July 13, 2012, when Robert's roommate found her dead from a stab wound to her chest.

Pinellas County sheriff's officials swept the room for fingerprints and collected DNA. They found that a piece of Robert's fitted bedsheet had been cut out.

Investigators identified Frederick as a suspect based on surveillance video from the strip club. They later tailed him and seized a cigarette he had tossed out of a car. The DNA he left on that cigarette matched DNA found at the crime scene. His fingerprints also matched those on a bathroom door frame.

In a statement to detectives, Frederick admitted that he had sex with Robert and killed her. He told detectives where they could find the kitchen knife he used to stab her. He had wrapped the knife in the cloth he had cut out from the bedsheet.

But Mahin said prosecutors could not prove that Frederick was guilty of premeditated murder. She said Robert's neighbor, who saw the pair walking to her townhouse, will testify that he saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Mahin said Robert agreed to have sex with Frederick but later became angry with him.

Robert took a swing at Frederick, and the two began fighting, Mahin said. She said Robert picked up a knife from the counter and went after him.

"She did sustain a stab wound as he was fighting her off," she said.

After opening statements, Judge Thane Covert asked Frederick whether his attorneys had discussed his defense with him before the trial. Frederick, who is charged with first-degree murder and faces a life sentence if convicted, nodded yes.

The trial got off to a late start Wednesday after a juror showed up two hours late. He was excused and replaced by an alternate.

The trial continues today.

Trial begins in death of Pinellas graphic designer 01/29/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 11:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott

  2. Forecast: Return of summertime pattern means afternoon storms on tap for Tampa Bay


    As if Memorial Day wasn't enough of a signal that summer truly is upon us, this week's forecast across the Tampa Bay area will be a stark reminder.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  4. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83


    Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian strongman and onetime American ally who was toppled from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion and who spent more than two decades imprisoned on drug dealing and conspiracy convictions, died late Monday. He was most likely 83.

    Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega waves to newsmen after a state council meeting, at the presidential palace in Panama City, where they announced the new president of the republic in 1989. Panama's ex-dictator Noriega died Monday, May 29, 2017, in a hospital in Panama City. He was 83. [Associated Press]
  5. Austin Mahone talks Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, his pop evolution and more


    Austin Mahone has vivid memories from his childhood visits to see his grandparents in Tampa Bay.