NEW PORT RICHEY
Defendant in stabbing says judge is tainted
John Ditullio Jr., a neo-Nazi leader awaiting trial in the 2006 Teak Street stabbings that left one dead, is seeking to have a different judge preside over his case. Circuit Judge Michael Andrews received an inflammatory letter laced with racial epithets from Phillup Partin, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of a 16-year-old runaway. In the letter, Partin mentions Ditullio, calling him "infamous" and "notorious," and says he's an even bigger racist than Partin himself. A motion filed Friday said that Andrews, who is African-American, was exposed to the "highly offensive letter" in December and then didn't provide it to Ditullio's lawyer for several weeks. Ditullio, 23, argued that this, as well as a dispute Andrews had with Ditullio's lawyer over a pretrial hearing date, constitutes bias and prejudice, and he doesn't believe he could get a fair trial. As of Monday, Andrews had taken no action on the motion.
Analysis pending in murder-suicide
Authorities are awaiting the results of a toxicology report to determine the cause of death of Joan Owen, the 87-year-old woman killed last week in an apparent murder-suicide. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office found Owen and her son, Richard Owen, 62, deceased inside their home Saturday night. Richard Owen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said. The family dog had also been stabbed to death, Doll said. Neighbors had called authorities after not seeing the Owens since Wednesday. The Sheriff's Office has not pinpointed the time of death or the motive, as no note was left behind, Doll said.
It was a boyfriend, not family members, who told authorities that missing woman Kimberly M. O'Connell, 42, may be involved with drugs. O'Connell's mother said her daughter does not have a drug problem. An item in Saturday's paper about O'Connell, who has been missing since July 5, gave different information.