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Updated: 04/20/2016 09:36:35PM

Court: Counsel can’t quit CCI cellmate killer

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Public defenders representing a man glad to be on death row after killing his cellmate at Charlotte Correctional Institution south of Punta Gorda will not be allowed to withdraw as the murderer’s counsel, according to a split Florida Supreme Court decision announced Thursday afternoon.

James Robertson, 51, was sentenced to death in 2012 by 20th Judicial Circuit Judge Christine Greider — who was presiding at the Charlotte County Justice Center at the time — for strangling to death his CCI cellmate Frank Hart four years earlier. Hart, 52, pleaded for his life and screamed for help before Robertson strangled him with a pair of tied-together socks in their cell, according to a previous Sun report. Greider said at Robertson’s sentencing that the killer — who has been behind bars since 1980 on several convictions spanning four counties — felt he had nothing to live for. He had been wanting to die, and she granted him his wish.

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