Historic City News reported in April, that 21-year-old Avery Corbitt entered a guilty plea to the charges of second-degree murder and attempted first degree murder in the shooting death of Rodrigo Espinoza and the attempted murder of St Augustine Beach Police officer David Tiller.
Today, Circuit Judge Carlos E. Mendoza sentenced Corbitt to two life terms for his crimes. State Attorney R.J. Larizza had asked the court for the maximum sentence of life in prison because of the seriousness of these crimes.
“Despite the defendant’s failure to accept responsibility for his actions, he was held accountable today when he was sentenced to life without parole,” Larizza and Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis said in a statement after the hearing. “Remorse was absent in the courtroom, but justice was not.”
Corbitt offered to sell drugs and guns to undercover officers; when in fact, he and his accomplices planned to rob the officers. At the scene of the intended robbery, Corbitt and his accomplices drew guns on the undercover officers and an exchange of gunfire ensued — killing Corbitt’s accomplice, Rodrigo Espinoza, and seriously wounding Officer Tiller.
“Every part of my life has changed because of that day,” Tiller testified at this morning’s sentencing hearing. “Your honor, I hope you never let this man see the light of day.”
Officer Tiller was shot in the leg by Corbitt and was bleeding profusely and was in pain from the bullet in his leg. Tiller feared he was going to die that day but fortunately, officers monitoring the undercover bust moved quickly enough to stop and arrest Corbitt.