Friday, March 6, 2009

Polk Man Gets Life In Prison In Drug House Slaying

TAMPA - A Winter Haven man was spared the death penalty today for his role in the 2006 slaying of a Polk County drug dealer.

If the jury had voted for death, Jermaine Michael Julian would have been the first defendant to receive a federal death sentence in the Middle District of Florida since the federal death penalty law was enacted in 1988.

U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore is required to follow the jury's recommendation and impose a life sentence.

The last death penalty trial in the district, which includes Tampa, was six years ago in Jacksonville. Only three people have been executed nationwide since the federal death penalty was enacted.

Julian was convicted of killing Carlton Potts, 22, during a robbery of a Bartow drug house known as "the Carter" on Oct. 19, 2006. According to the prosecution, Julian and at least two other men burst into the house and beat up the three occupants, including Potts.

The three victims were made to lie on the floor and Julian pointed a gun at them and tried to fire four times, according to the prosecution. The gun jammed three times, but one bullet went through Potts' chest.

Defense attorneys urged jurors to spare Julian, arguing, in part, that he had a troubled childhood.

The prosecution had presented as aggravating factors Julian's other convictions in the case for robbery and drug offenses and the fact that he had endangered other people when he killed Potts.

(Source :

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