MANATEE -- The Innocence Project of Florida has accepted the case of a man convicted of robbing the wife of a Manatee County Sheriff's deputy at gunpoint at a Bradenton pharmacy in 2006.
Andre Bryant, 27, is serving a 30-year sentence for the armed robbery, but maintains his innocence. In June 2007, a jury found Bryant guilty of approaching the open, passenger-side window of Lori Cline's car at a Walgreen's drive-through and holding a gun against her 14-year-old son's head. Cline's 11-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old friend were in the back seat at the time.
Bryant, on probation at the time for drug charges, was identified by the victims as the robber and was arrested in the hours that followed.
On Wednesday, a judge granted a substitution of counsel and appointed attorneys from the Innocence Project to represent him. In July 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.
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Bryant claims someone else committed the robbery and a key eyewitness may have changed testimony. Prosecutors were granted an extension to respond while reviewing the case.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.