Retrial ordered in playstation shooting death
Edward Keith Stoddard, convicted last year of killing a man he thought stole his PlayStation 3 and other property, won a new trial Friday. The Second District Court of Appeal cited a Florida Supreme Court ruling in another case that found problems with the instruction jurors are read about the crime of manslaughter. Because Stoddard's jury heard that instruction — he was charged with first-degree murder but manslaughter was included as a lesser crime on the jury form — he was granted a new trial. Authorities say Stoddard, now 31, shot and killed his neighbor Doug Abrams in front of a friend's Angus Valley home on April 23, 2008, because he believed Abrams had burglarized his house. Stoddard testified that he acted in self-defense, but he was convicted in January 2010 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Legg: Pasco may be a district base
As lawmakers wrap up the final week of redistricting public hearings, clues are emerging about Pasco's new political boundaries. Speaking Friday at the Port Richey Rotary Club, state Rep. John Legg said lawmakers will begin drawing the maps in mid-September before voting on them in January. Legg, a co-chairman of the House redistricting committee, also said Pasco's growth means the county could form the base of a redrawn Congressional seat. "We kind of give our population away right now in terms of representation," he said. And new Fair Districts requirements calling for compact districts will likely mean Rep. Richard Corcoran's Trinity-based state House seat will no longer stretch into Clearwater, Legg said. Lawmakers will meet from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Jefferson High School in Tampa and then from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the EpiCenter at St. Petersburg College in Largo to discuss redistricting efforts.
Get free Medicare advice at SHINE
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs' SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc. offers information and counseling about Medicare options. Trained SHINE volunteer counselors provide information and assistance for free at several locations throughout Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Consumers can speak to a volunteer by phone or make appointments for in-person sessions. Call 1-800-963-5337.
Defense questions the reliability of DNA evidence in the murder trial of Derral Wayne Hodgkins. Story, Page 3
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For the latest crime listings, visit pasco.tampabay.com and click under "Weekly crime report."