Man gets life in '89 suffocation and sex assault
A jury recommended life in prison Wednesday for a man who suffocated a woman in her bed more than two decades ago. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty, but after the jury's recommendation Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa immediately sentenced Gregory Keith Capehart to life. Capehart, 43, was convicted in 1989 of breaking into 62-year-old Marlene Reaves' Dade City apartment and smothering her with her pillow. She had also been sexually assaulted. Capehart won an appeal after his lawyer suffered a stroke and could not recall the details of the case and whether there were legal errors. Prosecutors agreed to retry the penalty phase only. Capehart's new attorney, Danny Hernandez, told jurors this week that Capehart is borderline retarded and had a dark childhood with an alcoholic mother and violent father.
Dad, son indicted over mushrooms
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that a Port Richey father and son were indicted on federal charges of manufacturing hallucinogenic mushrooms in a super lab. Gerald Hannafin Sr., 68, and his son, Gerald Hannafin Jr., were arrested last year and charged in state court with maintaining a lab with more than 2,300 mushroom cultures and 1 kilogram of processed psilocin, the term for the drug. When the lab was discovered last March, at 5421 Charles St. in New Port Richey, it was thought to be Pasco's first psychedelic mushroom growing lab. Authorities reported finding shelves upon shelves holding hundreds of half-pint Mason jars packed with the mushrooms. State authorities often drop their cases when defendants could face longer punishments in the federal system. If convicted in federal court, the Hannafins both face 20 years in prison.
Hog hunting time coming to preserve
The Conner Preserve will be closed from March 2-4 for wild hog hunts. Only hunters who have already obtained permits for this hunt will be allowed on the tract at 22500 State Road 52, north of Land O'Lakes. The Southwest Florida Water Management District periodically allows hunting on its lands to control the wild hog population, which isn't native to Florida. The hogs are omnivorous and feed by rooting with their broad snouts, which can cause extensive damage to the moist forests, swamps and pine flatwoods they prefer. The 150-pound animals can leave an area looking like a plowed field, Swiftmud officials said. Hunts are organized when the damage reaches unacceptable levels. For information, call Swiftmud's Land Resources Department toll-free at 1-800-423-1476.