NEW PORT RICHEY
No testimony from defendant
Lawrence Tener decided not to take the stand after all.
The 27-year-old is on trial this week, charged with the 2004 murder of Tammy Lee Bowles. The two had met at the Edge bar in Moon Lake shortly before Halloween that year and went back to Tener's mobile home.
Bowles' body was found two months later in a shallow grave in Tener's yard. He told authorities that he snapped when he caught Bowles, 43, trying to steal his marijuana. Authorities say he struck her with an ax handle twice and raped her.
Tener is not denying responsibility for her death, but his attorneys say he is guilty of manslaughter, not first-degree murder. They indicated at the start of the trial that he would testify in his own defense, but on Wednesday he told Circuit Judge Shawn Crane he had decided against it. His attorneys put on no other witnesses or evidence.
Closing arguments are set for this morning, and then the jury will begin deliberating.
NEW PORT RICHEY
One-car crash injures 5 teens, 2 seriously
A car filled with five teenagers crashed on Mitchell Boulevard shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, leaving two with serious injuries.
The 1999 Plymouth sedan was headed west near Davenport Drive and swerved to the right, overcorrected, drove into the median, struck a tree and overturned, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The driver, Antoinette G. Fitapelli, 18, of New Port Richey is in serious condition. Passengers Janette Horn, 17, of Holiday is in serious condition; and Michell Fitapelli, 17, of New Port Richey, and Daniel Barnes, 17, of Holiday, and Donald G. VanVlack, 17, of Holiday had minor injuries.
No one was wearing a seat belt, according to the FHP, which is still investigating.