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Plant City woman's killer fights execution date

(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

The state Supreme Court listened Wednesday to an appeal from a death row inmate scheduled to be executed next week for murdering a Plant City woman 19 years ago.

A defense lawyer argued that Johnny Robinson's conviction and death sentence are based on the testimony of a mentally retarded teenager who has changed his story.

A lawyer for the state told Florida's high court a trial judge was right to reject the recanted testimony as unbelievable.

Beverly St. George was traveling from Plant City to Virginia in August 1985 when her car broke down on Interstate 95 in North Florida. Robinson drove up, stopped to talk, handcuffed her and took her back to his car at gunpoint.

St. George was raped and shot twice in the head. Her body was found in a St. Johns County cemetery the next day.

Robinson, an auto mechanic, was on parole for a Maryland rape at the time.

Robinson, 51, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at 6 p.m.

During oral arguments Wednesday, defense attorney Peter Cannon argued that Robinson's conviction rests "solely on the now recanted testimony of a 16-year-old retarded boy with an IQ of 50."

The testimony was from Clinton Fields, who was with Robinson the night St. George was killed and is now serving a life sentence for the murder.