Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Former St. Petersburg College baseball coach gets four years probation

A former St. Petersburg College baseball coach avoided a potential prison term after prosecutors dropped three of four sex-related charges against him.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors in Orange County, Robert Francis, 33, pleaded no contest to the one remaining felony charge, transmitting material harmful to a minor. Adjudication was withheld, meaning he would not be considered a convicted felon if he completes all of his probation.

Police in 2011 accused Francis of flirting in an online chat with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, sending a nude photo of himself and driving to Orlando to meet her. But the "girl" proved to be an undercover officer.

Francis' attorney Lucas Fleming said the original four charges could have led to a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Also, he said, Francis has reserved the right to appeal his conviction on the sole remaining charge, based on entrapment. If Francis should win the appeal, he would not have to serve the probation.

Comments
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA — Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didn’t start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW — Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

DADE CITY — A 42-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said he jumped on top of a car, stabbed the driver multiple times and then kicked an officer.Roscoe James faces charges of attempted murder, two counts ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH — Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF wins doubleheader to stay alive in AAC tourney

USF wins doubleheader to stay alive in AAC tourney

Its American Athletic Conference tournament hopes flat-lining, USF's baseball team has spent the past 30 or so hours reviving itself with plain ol' CPR.Clutch Pitching and Resolve.Needing back-to-back wins on a humid Clearwater day to remain alive, t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

TAMPA — Tampa officials said Thursday they are reducing the speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, one day after a mother was struck and killed by a speeding car while pushing her 21-month-old daughter across the city’s signature street.Starting Friday, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A white supremacist killed her twin. Why did she forgive him?

A white supremacist killed her twin. Why did she forgive him?

As a fifth-grader, Aleesha Mance wrote an essay about her sister’s killer, explaining how peer pressure and drugs led the 17-year-old to make a deadly choice. In high school, she searched for his name online. She read news articles about a tee...
Updated: 2 hours ago