Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Hillsborough official acquitted in shooting

TAMPA — The same day David J. Heckman was supposed to sit for his first meeting on the board of the county's transit agency, authorities accused him of shooting his fiancee's ex-husband in the thigh.

On Thursday, a jury acquitted Heckman of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The conservative community activist was removed from the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority after his arrest.

"It took a lot of guts on the part of the jury, but their decision was the right decision," said Rick Terrana, Heckman's attorney.

Heckman, 63, prevailed after a long legal battle.

He was arrested in November 2005, accused of firing several shots outside his Valrico home after arguing with Robert Carroll over child visitation issues.

A year later, Heckman's attorney persuaded Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman to drop the charge. Heckman argued self-defense. He said Florida's "stand your ground" law permitted him to use deadly force because Carroll had threatened to break his jaw, then entered Heckman's garage and vandalized his car.

Prosecutors appealed. In December, the 2nd District Court of Appeal reinstated the charge. Appeals judges said Heckman was not immune from prosecution because Carroll was walking away from the garage when Heckman shot him.

Heckman took his chances at trial this week, testifying on his own behalf, Terrana said. The verdict came Thursday.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached

at or

(813) 226-3337.

Former Hillsborough official acquitted in shooting 05/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 6:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle