Man gets life in shooting of officer

Officer killed accomplice, shot suspect in undercover drug sting

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Putnam County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Avery Corbitt

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. - A 21-year-old Putnam County man was sentenced to two life terms in prison Friday in the shooting of a police officer that led to his accomplice's death.

In April 2011, Officer David Tiller, working undercover with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, met suspects Avery Corbitt and Rodrigo Espinosa in a drug sting.

The suspects tried to rob Tiller, and a shootout erupted. Tiller was shot in the leg, but he killed Espinosa and wounded Corbitt.

Corbitt was on trial in April and decided to plead guilty to second-degree felony murder by another, along with other charges, after the jury heard Tiller's testimony.

At sentencing Friday, Corbitt told the judge he wanted to withdraw the plea, but the judge denied the request and sentenced him to life in prison.

"Despite the defendant's failure to accept responsibility for his actions, he was held accountable today when he was sentenced to life without parole," State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a news release. "Remorse was absent in the courtroom, but justice was not."

Tiller testified at the sentencing hearing and said, "Every part of my life has changed because of that day, Your Honor. I hope you never let this man see the light of day."

Tiller has since joined the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and for his actions that day will receive the Congressional Law Enforcement Badge of Bravery.

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