Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Driver gets 7 years in hit-run death of USF cancer researcher

TAMPA — The grieving father of Kayoko Ishizuka was unable to come from Japan for the Friday sentencing of the driver who left his daughter dead on the roadside after veering into her bicycle in 2010.

Ishizuka's family of fellow scientists at the University of South Florida, where she was a cancer researcher, came instead. But before the sentencing, they got an education in the complexities of criminal law and the ambiguities of justice.

Shawn Lee Burton, 31, had waived a jury trial and asked Hillsborough Circuit Judge Scott Stephens to sentence him on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He admitted to veering into the back of Ishizuka's bicycle on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard near University Square Drive. It was about 2 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2010.

After hitting her, Burton drove away. He turned himself in hours later.

In court Friday, Burton was represented by a former assistant state attorney who had prosecuted Jennifer Porter, the 29-year-old Tampa dance teacher who drove away after hitting four children, killing two of them, in 2004. Kim Seace, the ex-prosecutor, reminded Judge Stephens that Porter got probation.

Seace sought similar leniency for Burton. Assistant State Attorney Barbara Coleman asked for a 15-year sentence. The disagreement evolved into an all-day battle over what he deserved.

Coleman showed that Burton had a DUI arrest in Sacramento in 2006. She argued he'd been drinking before he struck Ishizuka, 30, and suggested that by fleeing the scene and waiting hours to turn himself in he avoided a charge of DUI manslaughter.

Seace pointed to autopsy findings that showed Ishizuka was killed on impact and Burton couldn't have helped her. She tried unsuccessfully to keep his DUI arrest out of the record. She insisted he didn't realize he'd hit anyone, even though Ishizuka was thrown over the hood.

Burton testified himself, never admitting he knew he had hit a cyclist, but tearfully admitting, "What I did was wrong."

As arguments dragged on through the morning and into the afternoon, her USF colleagues waited to tell another story.

Ishizuka's USF mentor, Dr. Robert Deschenes, chairman of molecular medicine, described the sacrifices she had made for cancer research. She was working on experiments late that night, he said, just as she routinely stayed late. "That's the way she worked." Researchers like her, he said, defer any hope of raising families.

One of the few passions available to her was cycling. She grew up on bicycles in Japan. Deschenes said she cycled through Wisconsin winters while earning her doctorate. She stubbornly kept cycling in Tampa — a city with one of the worst bicycle safety records in the country — plastering her helmet and bike with reflectors and lights.

At the end, Judge Stephens noted that Burton was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, but "not with causing the death of the lady herself."

But he said he was convinced Burton knew he'd hit Ishizuka and fled without knowing if she was dead or alive.

Stephens gave Burton a sentence of seven years and three months. Burton has already served two years in jail. The judge also sentenced Burton to two years of community control and three years of probation. During that time, he won't be allowed to drive.

Comments
Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

The announcement was rolled out to the world as a pledge. A promise.In March 2016 SeaWorld declared it would end killer whale breeding, making the orcas in its care in the United States and abroad its last generation to live in captivity.Later that y...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

ATLANTA — A sudden power outage brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Authorities announced that electricity would be restored...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts Rolling a fat one — 100 feet longMarijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint. The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporter...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Friendly competition

Friendly competition

 
Updated: 8 hours ago