Con woman crashes Tampa press conference, performs phony sign language interpretation


At a press conference Nov. 28 to announce the arrest of the Seminole Heights serial killer, Derlyn Roberts stepped to the podium and performed a series of upper-body gestures and finger-flutterings that were meant to be a sign language interpretation of the proceedings.

They were not.

Her "interpretation," said Tampa deaf advocates, was incomprehensible. Some wondered, was it a prank? Performance art? An homage to the famous Hurricane Irma Pizza Bear Monster?

It seems that it was none of the above. In the case of the Hurricane Irma sign language fiasco, there was no malice aforethought; the interpreter was simply inexperienced. Roberts, however, has a criminal record with several arrests and one felony conviction. She was released from state prison in 2016 after serving four years for organized fraud over $50,000. 

It's regrettable that the Tampa police didn't vet Roberts before she stepped in front of the audience (especially considering one of the victims' parents is deaf); but it's an actual mystery why she did it or what she hoped to gain. Below, see a video via CBS News of the press conference.