SARASOTA COUNTY — After seven hours of deliberation, a jury found Charles Hill guilty of premeditated murder, kidnapping and robbery around 10:30 p.m. Friday in connection with the 2011 death of James Brotherton of El Jobean, a bus driver for the Sarasota County Area Transit System who was sleeping in his car to be closer to work when he was killed.
Hill, 33, was aghast when the verdict was read at the Sarasota County Justice Center, throwing his head down on the table and muttering to himself that he couldn’t believe it. Hill’s fiancée, Tara Haynes, cried after the verdict but declined to comment for this story. Brotherton’s extended family, including nine brothers and sisters, and his father Hugh of Englewood, all shared a sigh of relief following the verdict, as they showered hugs on Assistant State Attorneys Karen Fraivillig and Art Jackman, the prosecutors on the case. Hugh was thankful that two years of waiting for justice finally came to a close. “Now justice will be served to the one who caused all of this pain,” Hugh added. Hill could face up to life in prison for his crimes. It’s unknown when 12th Circuit Judge Donna Padar Berlin, who presided over the trial, will sentence Hill. Hill previously waived his right to a mitigation hearing, a decision that Berlin found him competent to make. Mitigation hearings use family and medical history to help inform the judge’s sentencing. Hill kidnapped and robbed Brotherton, 49, on Nov. 21, 2011, forcing him to remove cash from a Bank of America ATM on Clark and Beneva roads in Sarasota. Hill would shoot and kill Brotherton a short time later, leaving his body in front of the Gulf Gate Library. The ATM surveillance video was one of the key pieces of the case for prosecutors, as it showed Hill, clad in a track suit and camouflage hat, behind Brotherton at the ATM. Hill’s face was partially concealed by the hat, but jurors decided it was him in the video. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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