Trial against the Bradenton man charged with strangling girlfriend to begin Monday

Cornelius Baskin accused of strangling girlfriend

jdeleon@bradenton.comJune 22, 2014 


MANATEE -- A man charged with strangling his girlfriend after suspecting that she was sleeping with another man is set to stand trial beginning Monday.

Investigators say that Cornelius Baskin strangled his girlfriend, Regina Nunez, hours after accusing her of having sex with someone else.

Nunez's mother found her dead on her bed at her home in Bayshore on the Lakes Apartments, 4203 24th St. W., on the morning of June 7, 2012. Baskin's father had called Nunez's mother. Her mother went to check on her after receiving the call from Baskin's father to say he was hospitalized and they should go check on her, according to the warrant.

Baskin, 26, is charged with second degree murder and if convicted faces life in prison.

In a recent letter to Judge Charles Roberts, presiding over the case, the Nunez family asked that a motion to continue the trial filed by the defense be denied.

"For two years we have been waiting for justice for our loved one," the letter stated. "We ask the court to be sensitive to the feelings of the family of the victim and deny a continuance if it does not interfere with the due process of the defendant."

A few hours before investigators say Nunez was killed, her best friend told detectives she received a called from Nunez, who was crying. Nunez told the friend Baskin had accused her of having sex with someone else, according to the warrant.

The friend said Nunez had also said she had taken a pregnancy test that came up positive and that she was having morning sickness. Out of concern, Nunez's friend came to see her and stayed

with her for a couple hours, the warrant states.

Investigators say that Baskin was admitted to the psychiatric ward at Manatee Memorial Hospital early the next morning after his father reportedly took him to the hospital because he was acting crazy and wouldn't rest. As soon as police were notified of Nunez's death, Baskin's father hired him an attorney.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office Detective Jeffrey Bliss went to the hospital and told Baskin about his girlfriend's death at about 8 p.m. the day she was found.

"The defendant stated he was last at her party yesterday and he left early in the morning locking the door behind him. The defendant stated the victim was asleep in her bed when he left," Bliss wrote in the warrant. "The defendant showed no emotion or concern for the death of his girlfriend and seemed unwilling to aid in the investigation of her death."

Baskin's father told detectives that his son arrived at his home at about 4 p.m. the day Nunez died.

"Mr. Baskin stated he got home around 7:00 p.m. and his son was talking out of his head and he was very hyper," Bliss wrote.

The father said he sent his other son and his nephew to check on her because she had never called to check on Baskin.

Surveillance video at the hospital revealed Baskin's father spoke with the security guard there and used the phone. The guard told detectives that the father came up to the security stand crying asking him to call 911 and to check his son's apartment, according to the warrant. The call was placed, and when he was unable to provide an address, the call was disconnected.

Baskin was evaluated to see if he was competent enough after having been treated for mental issues at the time of the homicide and in the past.

On May 19, based a forensic psychological evaluation submitted to the court, Baskin was deemed competent to stand trial, accord to court records.

Evidence in the case includes DNA samples taken from the victim's body that match Baskin's DNA, and cell phone tower records that show he was in the area of the home during the time she is said to have been killed. Baskin is already a registered felon. His past convictions include home invasion and battery on a law enforcement officer.

In 2010, Baskin was released from a Florida prison after serving three years for the home invasion conviction from Leon County, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

Defense attorney Mark Lipinski denied comment for this story.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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