Timothy Evans will serve 20 years in prison for the murder of a roadside fruit vendor in South Miami Heights in April 2008.
Evans pleaded guilty Thursday to the killing of Mariem Frissolo, 47, whose robbery and murder while she sold mangos from her truck outraged police and the public.
The 33-year-old Evans will walk free from prison in 2028.
Five years ago, Frissolo had gotten up at 4 a.m. on a rainy day to sell produce from her truck to earn extra money for her son’s 18th birthday party. She was also one week shy of taking her first vacation since coming to the U.S. from Cuba eight years earlier.
That day, police said, Frissolo was standing roadside next to her Dodge truck, a wooden cab on the back, selling fruit at Southwest 117th Avenue and 185th Terrace. About 2:30 p.m., Evans and several other men pulled up in a white four-door Honda Civic.
When Evans tried robbing Frissolo, she “tried to defend herself” and he shot her four times, also beating her savagely, then-Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker said during a rare evening news conference to announce the arrest.
’’She was an honest person. She did not deserve that,’’ Parker said.
The men stole $50 cash, investigators said.
But once the case landed in court, the evidence against Evans proved to be underwhelming.
Eyewitnesses gave inconsistent descriptions of Evans, and could not pick him out of a photo lineup. The defense would have also attacked the credibility of a woman believed to have driven Evans and another man to the scene — she initially lied to police about her involvement.
And Evans, whose lawyers insist is mentally retarded, can be seen falling asleep during a videotaped confession to Miami-Dade detectives. He was interrogated over the course of 11 hours, lawyer Scott Sakin said.
“It’s a good day whenever I have a client charged with being the shooter in a murder of an innocent victim, and he has the chance to one day walk free,” Sakin said after the plea.
Frissolo’s relatives did not appear in court Thursday. But prosecutor David Gilbert said they approved the deal after meeting with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.