20 Years Later, Killer Apologizes to Victim's Family

Adam Davis was 19 when he conspired with other teens to kill his girlfriend's mother
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2021 1:31 PM CDT


A man convicted of murder and sentenced to death two decades ago has apologized to his victim’s family, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Adam Davis was in court Monday for a short hearing in which his sentence was changed to life in prison. Davis was convicted in the high-profile 1998 murder of Vicki Robinson, as were Robinson’s then-teenage daughter Valessa and their friend John Whispel. Robinson was trying to keep her 15-year-old child away from Davis, then 19 and going by “Rattlesnake,” per this 2018 story at Fox 13 Tampa Bay. On Monday, Davis read a prepared statement in court. “Her loss is a great tragedy that should never have happened," he said of Robinson. "To her family and loved ones, I express my deepest sorrow for their loss."

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Robinson’s family was not in court for the new sentencing. Davis originally received the death penalty by a 7-5 vote of his jury, but it was overturned when the Supreme Court barred Florida's policy of allowing non-unanimous death-sentence verdicts. Prosecutors had the option to go for a death sentence again, but chose the life sentence instead, noting that Davis was young when he committed the crime. Both Valessa and Whispel have since been released from prison. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco expressed compassion for Davis at his sentencing, and the hope that he could set an example for other prisoners. “Even though you were not a juvenile at the time, you were still young,” she said. “I really do wish you the best of luck.”
(Read more Florida stories.)

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