Husband jailed after wife's body found
Port Richey police were called Thursday afternoon to a home at 8602 Green St. after a relative had trouble reaching a family member inside. Police went in and discovered Michelle Hayden Ficarra, 53, was dead. Her husband, Damian Christopher Ficarra, 55, was found hiding in the side yard, police said. Officers arrested Damian Ficarra on a charge of second-degree murder and took him to the Land O'Lakes jail. Police said Mrs. Ficarra's death looked suspicious but the cause of death was not immediately apparent. Her body was sent to the medical examiner's office to determine how she died. Court records show Damian Ficarra's brushes with the law included a couple of domestic violence charges. He pleaded no contest in 2008 to domestic battery and was placed on one year of probation. Prosecutors filed another domestic battery charge against him in April. His next hearing in that case is slated for July 26.
Suspect arrested in bank robbery
A 41-year-old homeless man has been arrested on charges of robbing a SunTrust Bank at knifepoint Thursday morning. Jeffrey Lee Hazelbaker walked into the bank at 7612 State Road 52 shortly after 9 a.m., the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. He threatened the teller with a knife and claimed to have a grenade in his back pocket, authorities said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Deputies searched the woods near the bank for a couple of hours, and by 11:30 a.m. they had Hazelbaker in custody. The teller identified Hazelbaker as the robber, and all of the stolen money was recovered from him, the Sheriff's Office said. Hazelbaker admitted robbing the bank because he had "fallen on hard times," officials said. He was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon and violation of probation. He remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday afternoon in lieu of $151,200 bail.
Drilling opponents to hold beach rally
Opponents of offshore drilling will gather at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hudson Beach as part of "Hands Across the Sand," a series of waterfront rallies to promote clean energy. "We are drawing a line in the sand against offshore oil drilling along America's beaches and in solidarity events across America and around the world," said Dave Rauschkolb, a Florida small business owner who started the movement in 2009. Through partnerships with other groups, organizers expect to hold similar rallies in more than 400 cities and 12 countries, including the United States, Japan, India and New Zealand. For information, visit handsacrossthesand.com.
NEW PORT RICHEY
School physicals available for $10
Florida Joint Replacement and Sports Medicine Center will provide $10 school physicals through July, with the proceeds going toward scholarships for local students. The center is at 5243 Hanff Lane. For information contact Jennifer or Alicia at (727) 848-4249.