TAMPA, Fla. - Hillsborough County prosecutor Justin Diaz says the death of 58-year-old Raul Ortiz, at the hands of Erin Robinson, wasn't self-defense. He says it was cold-blooded murder.
"He pummeled this man to death. He pounded him into the ground. He stood over him and attacked him while he was down. This is not excusable homicide," argued Diaz.
Robinson faces murder charges in the beating death of Ortiz. It all stemmed from an incident at a Circle K in Wimauma six years ago.
Robinson's girlfriend at the time, Kayla Bryant allegedly told her boyfriend that the victim approached her at the counter and made a pass at her.
Prosecutors say that made Robinson enraged and he went to Ortiz's home to defend her honor.
But Hillsborough County public defender Mary Dunker said it was Ortiz who was the aggressor that day.
“Raul Ortiz hits Erin Robinson before Mr. Robinson ever lays a finger on Raul Ortiz," argued Dunker
During cross-examination by the prosecution Wednesday, Bryant's story seemed to unravel, admitting Ortiz didn't say anything sexual. Surveillance video from the store shows Ortiz was apparently asking her about cigarettes.
However, the prosecution's star witness, Kimberly Boyett didn't appear to fare much better.
Boyett lived across the street from Ortiz and saw the fight, however, she buckled under cross-examination after the defense pointed out some inconsistent statements.
She became shaky, even tearful at times, and then she had to ask for a break.
"I don’t think I was being very hard on her but that’s for you to judge," explained Dunker.
During closing arguments, Dunker reminded the jury this was a fist-fight between two men that got out of hand, but it not rise to the charge of murder.
After deliberating for five hours, the jury chose to disagree, finding Robinson guilty of first-degree felony murder and burglary.
Robinson sobbed as he heard the verdict was led away in handcuffs. He faces life in prison and will be formally sentenced in November.