Thursday, April 26, 2018
Breaking News

Afternoon Update: State attorney challenges Scott's authority to pull her off cop-slaying case; Brady's missing Super Bowl jerseys tracked to Mexico; Jobsite's 'A Skull in Connemara' is delightful whodunit

Here's what you may have missed, and what you need to know as you start winding down:

STATE ATTORNEY CHALLENGES SCOTT'S AUTHORITY TO PULL HER OFF COP-SLAYING CASE

A state attorney says Florida's governor overstepped his authority when he pulled her off a case after she said she would not pursue the death penalty in any cases. Markeith Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in the killings of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon. Gov. Rick Scott removed Aramis Ayala from Loyd's case and reassigned it to another state attorney after Ayala made her announcement against the death penalty Thursday.

CONSTITUTION PANEL MEETS TODAY WITH RULES THAT STEER MORE POWER TO CHAIR CARLOS BERUFF

Florida's unique quest to update its state Constitution begins today as the 37-member commission meets for an organizational session in the Florida Senate chambers. The rules allow Carlos Beruff, the Sarasota businessman who was selected to be chairman of the commission by Gov. Rick Scott, to consolidate his power over the group by giving him sole discretion of what expenses will be reimbursed and to use his committee referrals to kill proposals that have been amended by members.

YOUR AFTERNOON TRAFFIC AND WEATHER REPORT

As you head out for your drive home, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

RUBIO ONCE ASKED, 'CAN THIS COUNTRY AFFORD TO HAVE A PRESIDENT UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE FBI?'

Days before the presidential election, Marco Rubio asked a crowd in Punta Gorda, "Can this country afford to have a president under investigation by the FBI?" That comment, captured by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge, was directed at Hillary Clinton. But it has a new meaning today as the FBI confirmed it has an ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the election and possible ties to the Trump associates, which would include Roger Stone.

ORLANDO MAN WAS DRUNK WHEN HE POINTED GUN AT PATROL CAR ON I-4

An Orlando man faces charges after he was accused of pointing a gun at a Hillsborough County deputy while driving on Interstate 4 in Plant City. Nico Torres faces charges including DUI, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and carrying a concealed weapon. He is being held at the Hillsborough County Jail with bail set at $10,000.

NELSON REMAINS UNDECIDED ON GORSUCH

Sen. Bill Nelson remains undecided on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a spokesman said this morning as the confirmation hearing begins. Nelson faces pressure from the left and right over Gorsuch.

FACEBOOK COMMENTS BY SEMINOLE COUNTY OFFICIAL SPARK OUTRAGE

Backlash against Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala was swift last week when she refused to seek the death penalty, even in a cop slaying case. But Stan McCullars, the assistant finance director of the Seminole County Clerk of Court office, hijacked the controversy by posting incendiary comments on Facebook.

TEEN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT AFTER RAMMING PATROL CAR WITH STOLEN CAR

A 16-year-old faces an assault charge after he rammed a deputy's patrol car with a stolen car on Sunday, authorities say. The Plant City teen, who is not being named because of his age, intentionally drove a stolen black Chrysler 300 into a marked patrol car on a dead end street in the Walden Lake subdivision, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. Two deputies inside the car were not injured.

TOM BRADY'S MISSING SUPER BOWL JERSEYS TRACKED TO MEXICO

The search for Tom Brady's missing Super Bowl jersey is over. And the trail leads to Mexico. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said today that department investigators relied on a tip from an informant and tracked Brady's jersey from last month's 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons to Mexico. They also found the quarterback's jersey that had gone missing after the Patriots' 2015 Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks.

NAMESTNIKOV RETURNS TO LIGHTNING PRACTICE, EXPECTED TO PLAY TUESDAY

Center Vladislav Namestnikov returned to practice this morning and said he expects to play Tuesday when the Lightning hosts the Coyotes. Every game is a big game with 11 games remaining and Tampa Bay two points out of the second wild card spot.

THE GREAT AMERICAN GRUNT HUNT

Like the more popular (and bigger) grouper and snapper, grunts can be found feeding over bottom structure like rocks or wrecks. They are active year round and are usually a reliable catch even on bad days. About 300 anglers are expected at this weekend's Great American Grunt Hunt, a tournament cooked up six years ago in Madeira Beach.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE KEVIN KIERMAIER PICTURES

Kevin Kiermaier was one of the first players Times photographer Will Vragovic met at spring training when he took over our photo coverage of the Rays in 2014. They found common ground in having gone to high school in the same town and hit some of the same college hangouts. While this photo gallery may not encompass all of Kiermaier's greatest baseball moments, they include some Will's favorite images that he's made over the past couple hundred games in Tampa Bay.

JOBSITE'S 'A SKULL IN CONNEMARA' DIGS DEEP IN DELIGHTFUL WHODUNIT

A Skull in Connemara, which opened at Jobsite Theater over the weekend, involves four dysfunctional residents of County Galway, Ireland, one of whom took a curious career path and exhumes remains at a local cemetery. It is the kind of challenge the people at Jobsite Theater like to tackle in the cozy setting of the Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. They did so with excellence, Joe Henderson writes in his review.

Afternoon update is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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