Judge rules no bond for Valrico carjacking suspect after hearing testimonies

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A judge has ruled that a Valrico carjacking and murder suspect will be held in jail on no bond while he awaits trial.

James Hanson Jr. was arrested earlier this week and charged with bank robbery, carjacking and the murder of Mathew Korattiyil, a beloved Valrico business owner, who was a husband and father of three.

State prosecutors presented evidence in court Friday and requested Hanson not be released.

Detectives from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office showed the judge video of the bank robbery from bank security camera’s. They also showed cell phone video taken by an employee of the bank that shows Mathew Korattiyil being carjacked from just in front of the bank.

Detectives also had clothing they recovered from Hanson’s home that was worn during the bank robbery and coin wrappers also recovered from Hanson’s home.

Detective Moises Garcia then told the judge that Hanson finally confessed to the crime after a seven-hour interview.

“The first six and a half, six hours and 15 minutes were about somebody else doing it. Somebody else bringing a car to him, somebody else showing him where the body is, somebody else doing this. The last 30 to 45 minutes were a confession about how he did the robbery and he ended it with, those two guys weren’t even involved,” Garcia said.

The judge agreed, saying the evidence was compelling and ruled Hanson will be held on no bond.

Mathew Korattiyil’s family members were in court for the proceeding. His son was called to testify about personal items that belonged to his father. After his testimony, the son left to view his father’s body for the first time.

During testimony, Hanson was seen in court putting his head down on a table. A bailiff had to tap him on the shoulder and tell him to sit up.

Hanson had been sentenced to life in prison for a 2002 bank robbery in Tampa. He was released from prison last month after the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office used Hanson as a material witness in another murder case.

The State Attorney’s office says there were legal problems with Hanson’s original conviction and, coupled with his testimony in the murder case, it was enough to allow him to be released from prison.

A statement released by the State Attorney’s office on Wednesday says, in part, “the hard reality of our criminal justice system is that sometimes prosecutors have to use the testimony of criminals to convict other criminals.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Thursday he believes a life sentence should be a life sentence.

“To me, I think whenever you do the crime you should do the time. Victims go through a terrible process and then when the sentence is administered that gives them some closure,” he said. “Sometimes with a murder you can never have full (closure), but then to see that the person ends up not serving the full service, that is really bad for victims.”

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