Twenty-seven years after he argued that “television intoxication” led him to murder an elderly neighbor for Disney World spending money, Ronny Zamora will be released in June from a Florida prison. The Miami Herald says the Florida Parole Commission voted 2-1 yesterday to cut a year off Zamora’s sentence for good behavior. Zamora, 42, was 15 when he and an accomplice shot and killed an 83-year-old woman in her Miami Beach home. His trial — the first to be televised in the U.S. — became a sensation when attorney Ellis Rubin argued that violent 1970s cop shows like Kojak led his client to kill.
Zamora will return to his home country of Costa Rica to help run a rehabilitation program for inmates making the transition back to society.
The judge in Zamora’s case barred Rubin from raising the novel defense and from suing the major networks for broadcasting violent shows. Zamora, who admitted the crime, was quickly convicted. His accomplice struck a plea deal and was released from prison in 1986.
Rubin says he “was ahead of my time” in suggesting the link between violence and television. If given the case again he said he would try the same defense.