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Suspect in 2012 University Avenue Murder Asks for Plea Deal

Clifton Rae Baxter (Courtesy of Alachua County Sheriff's Office)
Clifton Rae Baxter (Courtesy of Alachua County Sheriff's Office)

Updated, Jan. 27, 2016: Baxter pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to court records.

Original story, Jan. 13, 2016: An Alabaman man asked Wednesday for a plea deal in his murder case, and the state of Florida will decide by Tuesday whether to grant it to him.

Clifton Rae Baxter's attorney asked to avoid a trial in exchange for a guilty plea to second-degree murder, accompanied by 25 years in prison; he's charged with first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Robert Dockens in Gainesville.

Baxter is accused of stabbing and killing Dockens, 60, outside Bank of America at 1116 University Ave. on Oct. 26, 2012.

Around 5 a.m., security footage from an ATM showed Baxter and Dockens standing together outside the bank. About 15 minutes later, the victim is seen bleeding through his shirt, according to court records.

Surveillance video from a nearby restaurant showed the victim collapsing at the corner of W. University Avenue and 12th Street. A van later determined to match Baxter’s van pulled up to the fallen victim, according to court records. Dockens was transported to UF Health Shands Hospital, where he died.

The incident occurred after the victim sold Baxter crack cocaine on credit at a nearby motel, according to court records. The victim’s girlfriend was also present.

Baxter, now 36, of Ashford, Ala., was indicted days after the incident on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.

Alachua County Court Judge Thomas M. Jaworski presided over the pre-trial conference on Wednesday at the Alachua County Courthouse for Baxter, whose court-appointed defense attorney Lloyd Vipperman requested the plea deal. Assistant State Attorney Omar Hechavarria said the state will return a decision by Tuesday.

Baxter has been held at the Alachua County Jail without bail since Nov. 1, 2012. He pled not guilty on Nov. 20, 2012.


Ariella is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.