Triple life sentence for rape of senior
After deliberating for an hour, a jury Wednesday found Bobby Lee Black III guilty of breaking into a 68-year-old Zephyrhills woman's house in 2007, raping her and leaving her for dead in a water-filled quarry. Black, 21, was sentenced to three life terms in prison, on top of the three life sentences he received last year for raping a 66-year-old Zephyrhills woman a couple of weeks before this attack. Jurors heard testimony Tuesday from both victims, who recounted how two masked men broke into their homes in the middle of the night demanding money. The older victim described how she was punched, thrown into a van, raped, then taken to an ATM to withdraw money for her attackers. DNA evidence put the odds at 1 in 710 billion that she was raped by an African-American other than Black. Black was convicted of sexual battery, kidnapping, home invasion robbery, aggravated battery of a person older than 65 and grand theft auto. Black's alleged accomplice in both assaults, Jathniel McMichael, 20, awaits trial.
Gun loading prompts accidental shooting
A 75-year-old man who was loading a gun he bought at a flea market accidentally shot his stepdaughter in the stomach, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. Garold Smith bought the .38-caliber gun Wednesday and had just set it on a table about noon when it went off, the Sheriff's Office said. The incident happened at 36405 Cordova Circle. The woman, Jackie Smith, 60, was taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. Smith was visiting from Michigan, according to sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. Preliminary information indicates the shooting was accidental and charges are not expected in the case, Doll said.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Another to run for school board spot
A new candidate has entered the crowded field to replace Kathryn Starkey on the Pasco School Board. Civic activist Alison Crumbley, who helped establish the school district's Cinderella Ball, filed papers signaling her plans Wednesday. She joins psychologist Steven Kanakis, pastor John Tracy, retired court reporter Billie Kaleel and medical supplies firm owner Christopher Cooley in seeking the seat, which Starkey plans to resign in order to run for state House District 45. Crumbley, who moved to the county as a child in 1967, said she's motivated to give her time and energy to the community that has meant so much to her family. "I think the best thing a community can offer its present students and its future is education," she said.