Trial date set for SCAT bus driver murder

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Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 5:55 pm | Updated: 11:58 am, Thu Sep 26, 2013.

SARASOTA COUNTY - A trial date is finally set in the murder of James Brotherton. The Englewood man was gunned down after surveillance cameras saw him and another man at an ATM machine. Authorities say Charles Hill Jr. is the other man and the person responsible for the murder.

Memories are all that's left for the family of James "Jimmy" Brotherton. "Yes we miss him. We miss him everyday," says his father Hugh Brotherton.

The 49-year-old husband, son, brother, and father of three was shot and killed near the Gulf Gate Library on November 21, 2011. Reports indicate he had been sleeping in his car waiting to start an early shift driving buses for SCAT. Hill was later charged after video and photos were released to the public.  A witness came forth, and authorities concluded it was an apparent robbery gone wrong.

Since then, his family, including mom Carol and dad Hugh, have been waiting for justice. "It's always there. It's always a pain. The trouble with a situation like this is that the wounds keep getting opened up over and over and over again."

Far from closure. Just learning that nearly two years after his murder a trial will take place in September, 2013. Hopeful the motions, hearings and delays are over. "Relief to the extent that something is being done. We are still dismayed by the fact it takes such a long time for the system to operate."

The State of Florida intends to seek the death penalty for Hill. Something the Brotherton family wants too. "We need to send a message to people like him that if you are going to take a life then your life is going to be at risk."

Hugh says he expects a guilty verdict and even longer delays. Florida currently has more than 400 inmates on death row. 28 of them have been there for 30 years or more. A bill passed last week by lawmakers looks to reduce delays in carrying out the death penalty. "I would have to live to be 120 or 130 years old probably with the way things are. It's not right. It's not right."

For now this family still waits for justice to be served for their lost loved one. "We love each other and we miss that love that we had." It's all they can do. "Nothing is going to bring Jimmy back. It's our loss."

Experts for Hill have filed a motion to seek expert mental health testimony on his behalf.

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