Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Public safety

Trial begins in death of Pinellas graphic designer

RECOMMENDED READING


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.

Comments
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando man accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando man accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

CLEARWATER — The former Pepin Academies executive director who died in a watercraft and boat collision on Sept. 23 had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the level at which the state presumes someone is impaired, a toxicology report showed. Just befo...
Published: 11/21/17
Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who ended a series of burglaries by breaking into the home of a sleeping woman, where he climbed into her bed, was arrested Monday afternoon, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Russel Smith, 42, now faces three felony char...
Published: 11/21/17

28-year-old man shot dead in Spring Hill home, deputies say

SPRING HILL — A 28-year-old man was shot and killed inside a Spring Hill home Monday night, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies responded to at least two separate 911 calls about 8:15 p.m., in which callers reported shots being...
Published: 11/21/17
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Published: 11/21/17

Crash involving bicyclist closes EB lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — Eastbound lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard were reopened by 6:30 a.m. at S Parker Street in downtown Tampa after a bicyclist was struck early Tuesday morning.The crash occurred in front of the University of Tampa, according to broadcast reports.W...
Published: 11/21/17
In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

TAMPAKenny Hoffa surprised everyone when he made the seven-hour drive from Charleston, S.C., to Tampa’s Seminole Heights to attend a dinner set up to thank police for working hard to solve a string of recent killings.For Hoffa, it was an easy decisio...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Another teen fights for his life following reported stolen car crash

Another teen fights for his life following reported stolen car crash

ST. PETERSBURG — Another teenager is fighting for his life after a crash involving a car that was later reported stolen, according to police.The 15-year-old was a passenger in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro that hit a tree in the 4000 block of 11th Avenue S...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17