New Trial Ordered for Florida Death Row Inmate

Michael Peter Fitzpatrick, 51, will get a retrial

Friday, Jun 28, 2013  |  Updated 1:20 AM EDT
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Former Sweetwater Officer Set To Be Executed

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Michael Peter Fitzpatrick

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Murder Retrial for Geralyn Graham in Rilya Wilson Case

Prosecutors in Miami have decided to retry Geralyn Graham, the caretaker of missing foster child Rilya Wilson, on a murder charge. Defense attorney Michael Matters said he was annoyed and surprised by the state's decision. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle spoke about prosecutors' new effort in a statement, while Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez raised concerns about the retrial taking place in Miami-Dade County.

Former Sweetwater Officer Set To Be Executed

The execution by lethal injection of 56-year-old Manuel Pardo was set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Florida State Prison. He was convicted of murdering nine people in a 1986 rampage that lasted three months. Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said that while Pardo committed "a heinous crime," he should not be executed.
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The Florida Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man sentenced to death for a 1996 fatal stabbing.

The court unanimously upheld a lower court's 2010 decision Thursday to grant a retrial to 51-year-old Michael Peter Fitzpatrick. Justices found that Fitzpatrick had ineffective help from his trial attorney, who should have consulted with experts on the DNA and other forensic evidence used against him.

Fitzpatrick had been accused of raping and killing 28-year-old Laura Romines, whose boyfriend had recently kicked her out. She was found naked with a slit throat on the side of a rural Land O' Lakes road in August 1996. She died three weeks later.

The Tampa Tribune reported that Fitzpatrick was working as a pizza deliveryman at the time and acknowledged giving Romines a ride to a motel, where he claimed they had consensual sex.

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