MANATEE -- The state attorney's office has been granted additional time to respond to issues raised in the case against a man convicted of robbing the wife of a Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy at gunpoint at a Bradenton Walgreen's in 2006.
Andre Bryant, 27, is serving a 30-year sentence for the armed robbery.
A jury in June 2007 found Bryant guilty of approaching the open, passenger-side window of Lori Cline's car at a Walgreen's pharmacy drive-through and holding a gun against her 14-year-old son's head. Also in the back seat of the car at the time were Cline's 11-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old friend.
Bryant, on probation at the time for drug charges, was arrested soon afterward and was identified by the victims as the robber.
A judge sentenced Bryant to 30 years in prison.
On July 28 of this year, Judge Charles Roberts ordered prosecutors to respond to five of the eight issues Bryant raised in his 2012 motion for post-conviction relief.
In light of new claims that someone else may have committed the robbery and that a key eyewitness may have changed their testimony, prosecutors filed a motion requesting an extension of a Friday deadline to respond.
"Rather than piecemeal this, we thought we would respond to all the issues at once," Assistant State Attorney Bruce Lee said.
Roberts issued the order granting the extension Friday afternoon.
"I thought, just as important, it would be to get him an attorney," Lee said.
As part of the order, Roberts directed the Public Defender's Office to appoint Bryant an attorney unless he wishes to continue to represent himself.
Roberts ordered that Bryant, through counsel, respond to the court in writing, stating his opinion on the extension of time requested.
Among the evidence recently presented to the state is an affidavit from Montilious Bing, serving a 25-year prison sentence, claiming while in the Manatee County jail in 2007, another inmate, Michael Walker, admitted to him he had committed the armed robbery for which Bryant was convicted.
Walker is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for armed burglary and other convictions.
Although it was signed in 2007, the state attorney's office received Bing's affidavit only last week.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.