Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Attack on authorities described in murder trial of Weeki Wachee man

BROOKSVILLE — Brett Hattenbrun had been cooperative, even friendly, as detectives investigated the murder of his daughter-in-law, Joey.

That changed on the morning of Sept. 27, 2011, when Hernando County sheriff's Sgt. Phil Lakin knocked on the door of Hattenbrun's home on Owl Road near Weeki Wachee and announced that the Sheriff's Office was back for another visit. This time they had a search warrant.

Hattenbrun called out that he was getting dressed. Then the door opened suddenly, and Lakin saw Hattenbrun with a look of rage on his face and a flaming bottle in his hand.

Hattenbrun tossed the Molotov cocktail at the sergeant's feet, and it exploded with a deafening roar, Lakin testified Wednesday, the second day of Hattenbrun's murder trial.

"I thought at that moment that I was going to be burned alive," Lakin said.

Moments later, a detective shot Hattenbrun in the abdomen. He was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where authorities say he confessed to beating Joey Hattenbrun with a metal pipe until she stopped screaming. He was also charged with multiple counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and throwing a destructive device.

Prosecutors say Hattenbrun, 63, admitted to confronting Joey Hattenbrun, 30, in front of her house on the night of Sept. 16 when the CVS pharmacy technician arrived home from work. They say Hattenbrun was angry about marital problems between Joey and his son, Chad. When Joey grabbed her cellphone to call police, prosecutors say, Hattenbrun knocked the phone out of her hand. When she screamed, he started to beat her with a pipe he had grabbed from the bed of a nearby truck. She died at St. Joseph's Hospital later that night.

Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter told jurors Tuesday that Hattenbrun was cajoled into giving a false confession and that the physical evidence collected didn't match his account. Fanter said Hattenbrun didn't want to hurt Lakin and the other officers, but wanted to provoke them into killing him.

On Wednesday, Lakin testified that he and other detectives visited Hattenbrun at his home for the first time on Sept. 22. That day, Hattenbrun told Lakin where he was the night of the attack. He said he was walking his dog when he saw a car parked on Owl Road with its high-beam headlights on. Hattenbrun said the headlights went off, and the car sped away. He said he retrieved a gun from his house and followed. Hattenbrun said the car stopped at a house, and a man with a tattoo on his leg got out. Hattenbrun said he went back to his own house, fell asleep and was awakened by a call from his wife, who told him Joey had been attacked.

When Lakin knocked on the French door of Hattenbrun's house on Sept. 27, Detective Bryan Faulkingham and Deputy Rosemary DeJesus stood nearby. Detectives John Ellis and Jill Morrell took positions at the back of the house.

Lakin, Faulkingham and DeJesus testifed that the flames from the Molotov cocktail reached higher than their heads. They scrambled for cover, and about a minute later saw what looked like the barrel of a rifle peek out from the door and move in a sweeping motion and emit a sound like muffled gunfire.

It was clear, DeJesus testified, "that we were under attack, that someone was trying to kill us."

Faulkingham and DeJesus returned fire, and one of Faulkingham's rounds caught Hattenbrun in the lower abdomen. He surrendered, and no one else was injured.

Detectives discovered Hattenbrun had been firing a nail gun connected by a hose to an air compressor in the garage.

At the hospital, Hattenbrun initially denied involvement in Joey Hattenburn's murder. Then, as Lakin was about to leave, Hattenbrun confessed, offering details about Joey Hattenbrun's injuries that only the killer would know, Lakin said.

Dr. Carlos Smith, the attending physician in the St. Joseph's emergency room, testified that Hattenbrun had hoped the day would turn out another way.

"He did tell me that he wished he was shot more times by the police officers," Smith said.

Now Hattenbrun faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder or attempted murder charges.

Comments
Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

One of the quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign that has stuck with me came from an unidentified Donald Trump supporter who shared his appraisal of the "Access Hollywood" tape on an episode of Showtime’s "The Circus."Having heard Trump boast on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

ROTC leader shocked that accused school shooter 1 of his own

PARKLAND, Fla. — The sound of gunfire still ringing in his ears after his mad half-mile sprint, Jack Ciaramello was standing with friends in a grocery store parking lot when a sheriff’s deputy approached. He asked the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High se...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

Some teachers left goodbye messages to their students on classroom blackboards. Others cleared their desks.It was Feb. 16, 1968, a Friday, and a sign of what was coming that Monday in Florida: the nation’s first statewide teachers strike.When schools...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Pinellas Park man tries to stop people breaking into his car, is shot in arm

PINELLAS PARK — A man saw people trying to break into his vehicle and chased them away, before one of the attempted burglars shot him in the arm, police said.Alexander Weaver, 28, was at his home on the 6200 block of 106th Avenue N early Sunday morni...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoying different perspective

Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoying different perspective

DAYTONA BEACH – Dale Earnhardt Jr. seems to be enjoying his retirement from racing.NASCAR's most popular driver is back at Daytona International Speedway for today's Daytona 500, but without the pressure of trying to win his sport's biggest rac...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson exuded deep emotion and a positive view forward in his first public comments since Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed 17 people.In the two-minute video posted on the school’s website and YouTube,...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Forecast: Record-tying high of 84 today in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Record-tying high of 84 today in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — What winter? 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaIt may still be mid February, but this week will already see plenty of sun...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Deputies: Woman charged with DUI manslaughter hit St. Pete Beach pedestrian

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputies say a driver killed a man walking on a sidewalk and fled the scene before causing a second crash Saturday night.Carolyn Yovan, 51 of St. Pete Beach, now faces felony charges of driving under the influence manslaughter and le...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Gofundme.com pages proliferated almost as soon as cops took Nikolas Cruz into custody after Wednesday’s 17-death massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Donors must parse the funding pages from the fraudulent.Read More: 17 dead,...
Updated: 7 hours ago