MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- A man whose lawyer unsuccessfully argued that violent TV shows like "Kojak" led him to murder a neighbor in 1977 was released from prison Tuesday after 27 years and will be deported to his native Costa Rica.
Ronny Zamora, now 42, was 15 when he shot 83-year-old Elinor Haggart at her Miami Beach home in a robbery.
Attorney Ellis Rubin claimed "TV intoxication" at his trial. The defense also attempted unsuccessfully to subpoena "Kojak" star Telly Savalas and experts who had studied the effect of television on young minds.
The sensational trial was one of the first to be televised after cameras were allowed into Florida courtrooms.
In an appeal, Zamora turned against his lawyer and claimed the TV intoxication argument made a mockery of his defense. A federal appeals court upheld the conviction.
Zamora was sentenced to life in prison and was released after completing the 25-year minimum. He said in a prison interview that he wants to find someone to start a family with when he gets to Costa Rica.
"That's what I've missed the most and what I want the most," Zamora said in Tuesday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Now I'm getting out, and I have to make my own world."
The victim's family has pushed for Zamora to be kept in prison.
"Not only did he brutally murder an elderly lady, he took family from us," Haggart's daughter, Joan H. Norcross, wrote in a letter to the parole commission last month.