Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Jury finds Brooksville police captain not guilty of battery

BROOKSVILLE — Jurors in the two-day trial of police Capt. Rick Hankins found the Brooksville Police Department's second-in-command not guilty Wednesday of a charge of misdemeanor battery that originated after a scuffle with another guest at a Christmas party.

The six-member jury deliberated for about 30 minutes before deciding that Hankins, 39, did not throw the initial punch at Fred Taclik while the two were on the patio at the home of Dr. Brian Kroll, a Spring Hill physician who hosted the December affair.

An 18-year veteran of the Police Department, Hankins took the stand Wednesday to refute the contention by Assistant State Attorney Phillip Hanson that he initiated the scuffle by throwing a "sucker punch" at Taclik's head. Rather, Hankins said, he was merely defending himself from a swinging fist that caused a minor scrape to his forehead.

Hankins' version conflicted with those of several witnesses who testified that others at the party had to pull the two apart in order to stop the brief fight.

Hankins, who grew up in Brooksville, told jurors that he has known Taclik, who works as a corrections officer in Sumter County, for 20 years and that he considered him a friendly acquaintance. He denied being upset with him on the night of the party.

"I didn't get the feeling there was anything wrong at all," Hankins said. "We had a good time."

In an effort to convince jurors that "the only issue in this case is self-defense," defense attorney Ellis Faught of Brandon spent considerable time zeroing in on what he considered inconsistencies in witness accounts.

Hankins joined the Brooksville police force in 1997 and was promoted to captain two years ago. His responsibilities include day-to-day management of the department and its employees.

The Monday after the party, Hankins submitted to Chief George Turner a memo offering his account of the incident, along with a photo of his scraped forehead and a statement from his wife that supported his account. The State Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrant in January.

Turner said Hankins was placed on restricted administrative duty that was lifted after an internal investigation. He remains on light administrative duty because of back and head injuries suffered last August when his city-issued vehicle was struck from behind.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 19

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballDixie Hollins 8, Canterbury 0Northeast 13, Lakewood 3Calvary Christian 5, Berkeley Prep 2
Updated: 4 hours ago
Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

TAMPA — Firefighters were battling a blaze at Captiva Club Apartments on Thursday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.According to video taken at the scene, the roof of one of the apartment buildings at 4401 Club Captiva Dr. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 6 hours ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions.The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 at...
Updated: 7 hours ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 8 hours ago