Man sentenced to life in prison for robbing bank, kidnapping and killing Valrico grandfather
TAMPA, Fla. - A man accused of robbing a bank and kidnapping and killing a Valrico grandfather decided he wanted to plead guilty and skip a trial. The defendant, James Hanson was sentenced to life in prison.
This comes after a Tampa judge was forced to declare a mistrial for Hanson after one of the jurors told the judge she knew Hanson. This happened right before opening statements were set to begin. She told the judge, "I just assume he is guilty."
Tampa Judge Samantha Ward had no choice but to declare a mistrial and start all over, meaning they would have had to pick a new jury had Hanson not decided to plead guilty.
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Back in August 2019, Hanson is accused of robbing CenterState Bank in Valrico, carjacking and kidnapping Matthew Korattiyil, who was a customer at the bank, and killing him. Detective Moises Garcia explained, "he choked and strangled him with his hands first. Then he finished him with Mr. Korattiyil's belt."
Investigators said Hanson had just been released from prison after serving 17 years of a life sentence. Now, he's back in jail, but Hanson had planned a permanent escape.
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Hanson tried to hang himself in his jail cell, but he survived. He was wheelchair-bound for some of his court hearings after that.
Three years later, Hanson was dressed in a suit and tie waiting to greet a new jury who would have decided his fate at the start of a new trial. FOX 13 learned late Tuesday evening that Hanson plead guilty to all the charges, and he was sentenced to life in prison.