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Suspect in beating of 81-year-old Tampa man now faces murder charge

TAMPA — The man who police say beat an 81-year-old so badly during a robbery that the victim died will face a murder charge, officials said Friday.

Alfred W. Watton, 81, died Wednesday, 14 days after Tampa police said he was attacked and left critically injured in his back yard in Seminole Heights on Aug. 17.

Officers arrested Carlos Alberto Cordero, 47, two days after Watton was found with a skull fracture and his wallet, car keys and car all missing.

Cordero then faced a charge of aggravated battery on a person over 65 years of age and robbery. Now he faces a charge of first-degree murder.

Watton was a longtime guidance counselor at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in South Tampa. His car was recovered by police, and Cordero has denied stealing it.

Police said Cordero fled the back yard after the beating sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. The victim wasn't found behind his home until four to five hours after the attack.