Police killer dies on death row of natural cause

Published On: Jan 08 2014 07:11:16 AM EST
Robert Patten
STARKE, Fla. -

A man awaiting execution on Florida's death row for the 1981 killing of a Miami police officer has died of natural causes.

Corrections department officials say 56-year-old Robert Patten died Monday of an undisclosed illness. Patten was sentenced to die for fatally shooting 24-year-old Nathaniel Broom, who was a rookie Miami police officer.

Trial evidence showed Broom stopped Patten's car because it was going the wrong way down a one-way street. Witnesses said Patten took off on foot and hid, then shot Broom as he approached. Patten then stole another car to escape.

Patten's fingerprint was found on the stolen car and the gun used to shoot Broom was at the house of Patten's grandmother.

The Miami Herald reports that Patten's initial death sentence was overturned, but re-imposed in 1989.