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Retired Tampa guidance counselor beaten and robbed last month has died

TAMPA — An 81-year-old retired guidance counselor police say was robbed and beaten in the back yard of his Seminole Heights home in mid August has died.

Alfred Watton, a longtime counselor at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in South Tampa, died this week, Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty confirmed Thursday.

The man accused in Watton's attack, Carlos Alberto Cordero, is still in jail and now may face murder charges, Hegarty said. Detectives were waiting on autopsy results from the medical examiner.

Investigators believe Cordero, 47, attacked Watton on Aug. 17 during a dispute over how much money Watton owed him for lawn care services. As the two men argued, according to the arrest report, Cordero hit Watton, knocking him to the ground, where he hit his head on a concrete paver in the back yard of a home he shared with his wife, Lena.

Watton suffered skull fractures, police said. His injuries and evidence at the scene suggested his head repeatedly struck the paver, the report stated.

Cordero reached into Watton's pocket and stole his wallet, which held $120, police said. Police say Cordero then took the Wattons' new Kia van.

Watton was taken to Tampa General Hospital. His son, Brian Watton, told the Tampa Bay Times last month that he was in an intensive care unit. The son said Lena Watton found her husband roughly four hours after the attack. He was conscious but unable to speak or move much.

Cordero was arrested two days later and charged with robbery and aggravated battery. He remains in the Hillsborough County jail system.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374.