Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Penalty Sought in Slaying

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Penalty Sought in Slaying

Article excerpt

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a St. Johns County man indicted on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of his ex-wife two months ago, according to the office of State Attorney John Tanner.

James Robinson Sr., 40, of Vermont Heights is charged with killing 42-year-old Laura Jean Messina of St. Augustine.

Police said Messina had filed a restraining order against Robinson, and a few people reported that he had threatened to kill her.

Messina, an instructional assistant at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine for 20 years, was found shot to death Oct. 18 in her Atlantic Avenue home by her son.

Robinson had been released from the St. Johns County Jail about a week before Messina's death after serving a year for a probation violation, officials said. He has been in jail since the day after she was killed on charges of attempted carjacking.


FATAL SHOOTING: A 27-year-old Jacksonville man died yesterday after being shot in the chest Wednesday night in the 1700 block of Whitner Street.

Barry Leon Bell of West 15th Street was taken to Shands Jacksonville where he died about 3:30 a.m., police said. The shooting was reported about 9:45 p.m.

No arrest had been made last night. The shooting is under investigation and no additional details were released.

GUILTY PLEA: An employee of an optometry center accused of raping an 18-year-old woman who was applying for a job has pleaded guilty.

Romano Estrada of Jacksonville will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty Dec. 8 to armed sexual battery and armed kidnapping. His plea agreement calls for 25 years in prison followed by 10 years of sex offender probation.

He was arrested in June after a woman told police he pulled her into an office while showing her around, bound her to a chair with tape, used a razor knife to cut off her underwear and raped her after she went to the Regency Lifestyle Vision Center on Atlantic Boulevard to apply for a job.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5. Estrada was 21 at the time of his arrest.

FATAL CRASH: A 32-year-old Jacksonville man died yesterday after an early morning car crash. …

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