St. Petersburg Blockbuster Robbery & Cop Shooting Trial Begins

A jury was picked and the Trial has started in one of my all-time favorite cases that I handled while prosecuting in the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office. I can remember the day that one of our local undercover detectives was shot as our Gang Prosecution Unit was already prosecuting several members of St. Petersburg’s “Haines Road Cru.”

What started as a small “neighborhood group” that bullied people around had turned into a small group of dangerous individuals robbing local pharmacies at gunpoint. Initially, each Robbery was done to get as much Oxycodone and Xanax as possible as the street value of those pills had gone through the roof in Pinellas County.

Soon thereafter, this small group, all clad in black with their faces concealed, robbed a Blockbuster Video in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, at that time, the St. Petersburg Police Department was doing undercover surveillance on this group.

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Once the undercover units noticed that a Robbery was occuring at the Blockbuster, one of the plain-clothes detectives confronted Velislav Matzov. After the detective identified himself as a law enforcement officer, Matzov fired several shot almost killing the detective.

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For his part, Matzov was charged with Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer as well as various other Armed Robbery charges. His co-Defendant, Joseph Hollings is set for Trial next week. The driver of the vehicle, Danielle Karlau, has already entered a plea and is expected to be called as a witness. Matzov is facing Life in prison if he is convicted of the most serious charge: the Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer.

For more information on this case, including the initial St. Petersburg Times article and the Bond Hearing that I handled for the State of Florida, check out the St. Pete TImes article Birthday Gift Blamed for Cop Shooting.

If you are looking for an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is available 365/24/7. For more information on Crimes of Violence, Drug Offenses & Drug Trafficking charges and/or Firearms or Weapon Offenses, please call us at 727.286.6141.

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