Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Condemned Pinellas man granted a hearing to consider possible new evidence

LARGO — A judge has scheduled a hearing to consider possible new evidence in the case of a Pinellas County man scheduled to be executed next month.

Senior Circuit Judge Robert Beach said that "in an abundance of caution" he would set the hearing for Tuesday in the case of convicted murderer Robert Waterhouse.

Waterhouse was convicted of killing Deborah Kammerer, whose body was found in St. Petersburg's Lassing Park in 1980. She had been raped and brutally beaten. After his conviction, Waterhouse was sentenced to death.

This month, Gov. Rick Scott signed a death warrant for Waterhouse and scheduled his execution for Feb. 15.

Waterhouse's attorney, Robert Norgard, has raised what he says are two important issues that should prevent Waterhouse from getting the death penalty.

One is that a witness has stepped forward with what he said is new information. The other is that evidence in the case was destroyed after Waterhouse's conviction.

Norgard mentioned a Jan. 5 Tampa Bay Times article which, referring to evidence given in the original trial, noted that "It all began Jan. 2, 1980, when Waterhouse was seen leaving a St. Petersburg bar with Kammerer, according to witnesses."

However, when St. Petersburg resident Leglio Sotolongo read the recent article about what the witnesses said at trial, it did not match his memory of that night. Sotolongo, 55, was a doorman at the ABC Lounge at the time and knew Waterhouse.

In an affidavit filed in court, Sotolongo says he saw Waterhouse in the bar on the night of the murder. He said Waterhouse "left the lounge with two white males" and that he "did not leave the lounge with any female."

He also says he gave this information to a St. Petersburg detective at the time who seemed "disinterested in what I had to say." He also says the detective later approached him and another man and "accused us of trying to protect a murderer."

In a brief interview with the Times Friday morning, Sotolongo said that because the case is such a serious matter, he felt compelled to clarify what he observed that night.

Norgard also pointed out that physical evidence used at trial was destroyed after Waterhouse's conviction. At the time of the case, DNA testing was not available. Now that the evidence has been destroyed, there is no way to do the DNA testing, which could prove his innocence, Norgard said in court filings.

In response to a question from Beach, Norgard acknowledged this issue already had been raised in previous appeals.

Comments
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as the coach at USF, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," Tagg...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rivers of molten rock

Rivers of molten rock

U.S. Geological Survey via APKilauea volcano, which began erupting more than two weeks ago on Hawaii’s Big Island and has burned dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee, has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with rivers of molten r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

TAMPA – Capitals G Braden Holtby basically summed up playoff life for the Capitals after Saturday's Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference final when he said the team never makes it easy for itself."No, we don't," coach Barry Trotz agreed Sunday...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Traffic lights out at Pinellas Park intersection; drivers should avoid area

Traffic lights out at Pinellas Park intersection; drivers should avoid area

PINELLAS PARK — Traffic lights have lost power at the intersection of 66th Street N and Park Boulevard, police said.About 5:45 p.m., Pinellas Park Police announced the outage. Duke Energy is working to restore power, according to the agency. Drivers ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own.Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held at Tropicana ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

As the last tension-filled seconds of a tight playoff game wind down, high above the Amalie Arena ice, the play-by-play man becomes increasingly animated.Dave Mishkin, eyes bulging, face purple, jumps from his seat, holding the headset with his left ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Unveiling for

Unveiling for "Fortune Taylor Bridge" marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

TAMPA — There’s a saying that everyone dies twice, Tampa City council member Guido Maniscalco said Sunday. Once, when they take their last breath. And again, the last time someone mentions their name.So in this case, he said, the name "Fortune Taylor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

TAMPA — The Lightning is a win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Its Game 5 win Saturday, to take a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals, was another chapter of a story being written on the fly."Think about Game 1 in New Jersey,"...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

TAMPA — Alex Ovechkin headed toward the Capitals' locker room two hours before the start of Saturday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final with the swagger of an elite athlete that suggested he was about take over a game and make life misera...
Updated: 2 hours ago