Tuesday, January 23, 2018
News Roundup

In second trial, jury acquits Tampa man accused of 2006 fatal shooting near Oldsmar

LARGO — A Pinellas County jury on Wednesday acquitted Hector Vasquez-Padilla of fatally shooting a 23-year-old man near an Oldsmar preserve in 2006. It was his second trial on the charge, after his first conviction in 2013 was overturned last year.

Vasquez, 29, of Tampa, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in 2011 for the slaying of Marcos Antonio Diaz. During his first trial in 2013, prosecutors said Padilla thought Diaz had arranged to have him robbed of about $2,000 at gunpoint before a drug deal in St. Petersburg.

A jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison. Padilla's lawyer appealed, arguing that an audio recording of a witness statement played during the trial violated his client's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witness against him.

The state's witness, Abel Garcia, testified on the stand that he did not remember his interview with detectives.

In April 2016, the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned Padilla's sentence.

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Florida may hand out school vouchers to bullied students

Florida may hand out school vouchers to bullied students

TALLAHASSEE — Florida students who get bullied may get taxpayer help to attend a private school.A Senate panel on Monday voted for a bill that would allow students who are victims of bullying, physical attack, robbery and other types of violenc...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Del Toro’s ‘Shape of Water’ lands a leading 13 Oscar nominations

Del Toro’s ‘Shape of Water’ lands a leading 13 Oscar nominations

NEW YORK — Guillermo del Toro’s lavish monster romance "The Shape of Water" fished out a leading 13 nominations, Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman nominated for best director and "Mudbound" cinematographer Rachel Morrison made history as the f...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Truck carrying frozen chickens catches fire on I-75 in Brandon

Southbound lanes on Interstate 75 were closed in Brandon early Tuesday morning after a semi-trailer carrying frozen chickens caught fire.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 52-year-old Brian Keith Jester, of Venice, was driving southbound near S...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Five Hernando County educators nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Awards

Hernando County Public Schools has five educators in the running for prizes ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 in the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year awards. The program will give out 17 awards.Travis Bruns and Doug Poteet of Pine Grove Elemen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
MacDill crews shift from Islamic State battle to join winter fight against Taliban

MacDill crews shift from Islamic State battle to join winter fight against Taliban

Now that the fight against the largely defeated Islamic State is winding down, the U.S. Air Force is turning its efforts toward the Taliban and moving aircraft and crews to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.Crews and a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refue...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Alaska hit by 7.9 earthquake; tsunami warning canceled

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off Alaska’s Kodiak Island early Tuesday, prompting a tsunami warning for a large swath of the state’s coast.Officials at the National Tsunami Center canceled the warning after a few tense hours a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
More teacher protests and another charter school approval expected at the Hillsborough County School Board meeting

More teacher protests and another charter school approval expected at the Hillsborough County School Board meeting

TAMPA — This will seem familiar: Teachers are mobilizing to protest outside Tuesday’s Hillsborough County School Board meeting about their frozen pay rates.And this too: A vote is expected on a new charter school.Florida Connections Academy is a virt...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter, dies at 96

Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter, dies at 96

Unsung for seven decades, the real Rosie the Riveter was a California waitress named Naomi Parker Fraley.Over the years, a welter of American women have been identified as the model for Rosie, the war worker of 1940s popular culture who became a femi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bill Cosby jokes in 1st show since 2015 he ‘used to be’ comedian

Bill Cosby jokes in 1st show since 2015 he ‘used to be’ comedian

PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby performed in public for the first time since a sex abuse scandal embroiled him in 2015, joking that he "used to be a comedian" and playing with a jazz band in his hometown as a retrial looms in his criminal sexual assault ca...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: Seminole Heights suspect could face death penalty; soggy commute across Tampa Bay; Oscar nominations released today; Lightning shut out Blackhawks

The Daystarter: Seminole Heights suspect could face death penalty; soggy commute across Tampa Bay; Oscar nominations released today; Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Those Monday evening showers could linger to saturate Tuesday morning’s commute, according to 10Weather WTSP. They’ll move out by the afternoon as a cool — not quite a cold —...
Updated: 3 hours ago