The second-degree murder conviction of the Bradenton man in the strangling death of his girlfriend, Regina Nunez, has been reversed by the Second District Court of Appeals.
Cornelius Baskin will now get a new trial, a three-judge panel ruled on Wednesday.
Nunez was found dead on June 7, 2012 inside her home in Bayshore on the Lakes Apartments. An autopsy later confirmed that she had been strangled to death.
Baskin, who was quickly named a person of interest, was charged with second-degree murder in September 2012 and later convicted.
Baskin’s constitutional right to due process was violated because Baskin’s statements to police, used against him at trial, were taken after he had been committed to the psychiatric wing of Manatee Memorial Hospital and without his attorney present, according to the panel’s opinion.
According to the 10-page opinion, Baskin’s mother came to visit him at the hospital and was told the police were on their way to question him because Nunez had been discovered dead. His mother called an attorney, who was a family friend, and he quickly came over to the hospital.
The attorney notified the nurse and security guard of his arrival and that he did not want Baskin speaking to police. The attorney waited with Baskin’s parents but eventually left shortly before police arrived, with the intent to return in the morning.
The opinion states that despite an unclear record on the chain of communication, police were aware that Baskin’s family had obtained him a lawyer but did not tell him so and proceeded with the interview.