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Pilot who faked death in Panhandle gets more than 4 years in prison


Pilot who faked death gets prison

An Indiana money manager who pleaded guilty in June to intentionally crashing his plane to fake his death and flee financial ruin has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison.

Judge Roger Vinson sentenced Marcus Schrenker on Wednesday after a lengthy and rambling speech by the amateur daredevil pilot, who sobbed and asked for forgiveness from his family, air traffic controllers and Panhandle residents.

Schrenker's single-engine Piper Malibu crashed behind a Milton neighborhood on Jan. 11 after he bailed out over Alabama and left the plane to drift on autopilot. He had planned for it crash into the Gulf of Mexico, but it ran out of fuel.


Biden, Duncan seek school reform ideas

Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are asking teachers for new ideas to reform the nation's school system.

At an Orlando middle school Wednesday, Biden credited the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with saving 26,000 school jobs in Florida.

He said economic recovery is one part of the plan, with a higher goal of coming out of the recession with better health and education systems than before.

Duncan praised Florida for working to close the achievement gap and raise expectations, but said the state needs to improve its dropout rate.


15-year-old accused of setting girl on fire

An Orlando area teen is accused of stabbing a 14-year-old girl and then setting her on fire.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said the girl was stabbed several times by a 15-year-old boy who then squirted a flammable liquid on her and set her ablaze. It happened about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, after the victim had left her home with the boy. The two were acquaintances.

The girl, whose name was not released, was being treated at an Orlando hospital. Details of her condition were not released.

The boy, Calva James Haskell, was arrested at his home and charged with attempted first-degree murder.


Woman who set self on fire at mall dies

A 42-year-old woman who set herself on fire at a Miami shopping mall has died.

Police say Cecilia E. Casals covered herself in flammable liquid, set it ablaze and walked around until witnesses used two fire extinguishers to put out the flames.

Authorities found Casals unconscious on Aug. 13, with third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body. She had been on fire about 21/2 minutes. Casals was airlifted to a hospital. She died Tuesday.

Court records show she had a history of mental illness and had been convicted on prescription drug trafficking charges, the Miami Herald reported.


Florida's swine flu death count hits 59

Florida's swine flu death count has reached 59, state health officials say.

The Florida Department of Health released an updated H1N1 death toll Wednesday.

Federal health officials have sent testing supplies to the state's four labs, allowing state technicians to test samples without the additional step of sending them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Teenager arrested in party shooting

A Miami teen has been arrested in last month's shooting at a birthday party that killed two and wounded 10.

Rodney Miller, 18, was arrested early Wednesday in Liberty City. He is being charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

The July 6 shooting caused a chaotic scramble that sent partygoers fleeing in a public housing complex near downtown Miami. About 200 people attended the party.

Police have said at least three men dressed in black and armed with high-powered weapons opened fire on the crowd but missed their intended target.

Most of the injured were teens, and 17-year-old Anthony Smith and 21-year-old Michelle Coleman died at a hospital.

Associated Press

Pilot who faked death in Panhandle gets more than 4 years in prison 08/19/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:41pm]
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