The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on January 30, 1997 · 50
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 50

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 30, 1997
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8-Pasco The Tampa Tribune, Thursday, January 30, 1997 BUBE GUTY c SCOTT ISKOWITZTribune photo Albert Leon Fletcher listens in court Wednesday on the first day of his murder trial. Fletcher murder trial under way in Bartow SUMMARY: The defense contends murder defendant Albert Fletcher's cousin and co-defendant, Douglas Porter, was the triggerman. By BILL HEERY of The Tampa Tribune BARTOW Evidence will show murder defendant Albert Leon Fletcher was the triggerman in the 1993 shooting death of a Lakeland man, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for Fletcher, 26, of Zephyrhillsin the April 3, 1993, slaying of Nelson Medina Oliveras, 32. Oliveras was shot in the neck with a sawed-off shotgun during a robbery attempt after a tire on his station wagon was shot out about 1:30 a.m. on Harden Boulevard in Lakeland. The defense reserved its opening statement to the jury until after the state rests its case. But during jury selection, defense attorney Jack Edmund said Fletcher's co-defendant and cousin, Douglas Porter, 27, of Lakelandkilled Oliveras. "As far as we're concerned, the state made a pact with the devil (Porter)," Edmund told prospective jurors. Porter was found guilty in November 1994 of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and robbery with a firearm and was sentenced to life in prison. An appellate court granted Porter a new trial because he was tried at the same time on the murder charge and an unrelated attempted car theft that took place an hour earlier. Porter's request for separate trials should have been granted, the appellate court said. Porter pleaded guilty in June 1996 to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted armed robbery. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison plus 30 years. Porter, who is scheduled to testify against Fletcher, is to be sentenced after Fletcher's trial. Fletcher escaped in January 1995 from Pasco County sheriff's deputies after being taken to the courthouse in Dade City to stand trial for an armed burglary that occurred the day before Oliveras was killed. He was captured in Delaware in April 1996. Fletcher is on trial for first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, possession of a short-barreled shotgun and aggravated assault. The latter charge alleges Fletcher pointed the shotgun at a man during an argument in a shopping center parking lot several hours before Oliveras was killed. Prosecutor Paul Wallace told jurors Wednesday evidence that shows Fletcher was the shooter includes several witnesses who saw Fletcher that night with the sawed-off shotgun and blood on his shirt. There was no blood on Porter when the two men were arrested about 15 minutes after the shooting. Porter told police he was driving Fletcher's LTD Ford when Fletcher shot out Oliveras' tire and then shot Oliveras, Wallace said. 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