Gwinnett County

‘My rage was indescribable:’ Family speaks out after former Gwinnett deputy’s killers get plea deals

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A woman whose brother was murdered over four years ago is speaking out for the first time since one of the killers was offered a plea deal.

In Jan. 2020, 25-year-old Tavares Norah and 27-year-old Prince Robertson murdered 63-year-old Felix Cosme at an O’Reilly Auto Parts store along Hamilton Mill Road in Buford.

Cosme was a former Gwinnett County Sheriff deputy who worked part-time at the auto shop and was closing the store when the shooting happened.

“He was truly a people person,” Felix’s sister, Linda Cosme, told WSB Tonight’s Michael Doudna.

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Linda Cosme said her brother was more than just blood, but a confidant—someone who was always social and willing to help those in need. The 63-year-old spent more than three decades in law enforcement before his death.

At the time of their arrest, police said that Robertson and Norah were suspects in several robberies of auto stores throughout Georgia. That night, reports are that Robertson shot Cosme eight times before fleeing.

“So my brother would say, an eye for an eye,” Linda Cosme said.

Linda Cosme explained that the family initially pushed prosecutors to pursue the death penalty. However, after discussions with the deputy DA at the time, the family understood that the county would seek a sentence of life without parole for Robertson.

As time passed, the lawyers handling the case changed, and the family says they learned about a plea deal in January.

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“Not only did I hear about it [for the first time], but it was a done deal. I think my rage was indescribable,” Linda Cosme said.

In an email, the Gwinnett District Attorney said the family was “fully informed of the plea negotiations and the terms that were reached. Each of them gave victim impact statements.”

Robertson was sentenced to life in prison but can get parole after 30 years. Norah, his accomplice, was sentenced to 40 years in jail but can get out after 20 years.

“Every day, someone is charged with a heinous crime that gets less than the maximum,” Former Dekalb County District Attorney Robert James said.

According to James, balancing the desires of victims and the challenges of a case is incredibly difficult, especially as trials can be unpredictable.

“In a trial, there is no such thing as a slam dunk,” James said.

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Gwinett County DA Patsy Austin-Gatson defended the plea, saying it “brings closure and finality that the family and friends deserve.”

Linda Cosme disagrees.

“I think it’s kind of arrogant to know how the family feels. So if the question should be if the prosecutor had their brother or sister killed in the same way, would she be happy with the resolution?”

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