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She wanted to look him in the eye

April 17, 2010

TAMPA — Robin Harris got there an hour early. She brought a friend for support. They had been sitting outside the locked door of Courtroom 61 for half an hour when a victim’s advocate arrived with forms asking her to detail the impact of her son’s death.

Harris’ eye caught on the name atop the page:

State of Florida vs. Derrick Cullins.

“That’s just a problem, looking at his name,” Harris said.

Cullins, 29, was back there somewhere, waiting to answer to two murder charges because, according to deputies, he stabbed her son and his own brother to death.

She wanted to look him in the eye.

The form gave a space for items she never recovered: Her son’s Acer laptop with Barack Obama and Superman stickers, a green button-down shirt, blue jeans and a black backpack with one strap.

Then, at the bottom of the page:

This is your opportunity to let the court know how this case has affected you or your family and what hardship you haveexperienced.

It gave her four empty lines.

There was so much more to say…

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