Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Jury recommends death in Wright double-murder case

LARGO — By a 7-5 vote, jurors recommended that Ralph "Ron" Wright Jr. be executed for the murders of his former lover and their 15-month-old son.

Judge Thane Covert will now decide if Wright should die or spend the rest of his life in prison. A hearing is set for March 8, but he won't be sentenced for several more months.

Wright was convicted of the murders Thursday. The jury of eight women and four men had deliberated for 15 hours over two days before reaching a verdict.

Prosecutors had painted Wright as a calculating liar who killed Paula O'Conner and their son, Alijah, to maintain his promiscuous lifestyle and to avoid paying the boy's expensive medical bills.

Three weeks before the killings, she had him served with papers at MacDill Air Force Base, informing him she was suing for child support.

After the conviction was announced, O'Conner's daughter, Victoria Christopher, offered no opinion about the sentencing. O'Conner's father, William Dillon, said he didn't want Wright to be executed. He wanted him to sit in prison and think about the murders for the rest of his life.

Midway through the two-hour deliberation, jurors asked the judge about the family's input. He couldn't answer. Because the vote was so close, defense attorneys say they will likely ask prosecutors to agree to a life sentence.

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Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 2 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 25 minutes ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 22, midday:49 851 5049e_SRit11446Mon., Jan. 22, evening:05 733 5365e_SRit06330Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 22...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURGThe bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks today when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefactor Tri...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Facebook vows progress in halting election meddling

Facebook said Monday that it fell short in preventing the social media network from being used for foreign meddling in the U.S. presidential election.New blog posts written by Facebook executives appear to be the most critical self-assessment yet of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Associated PressWASHINGTON — Congress sped toward reopening the government late Monday as Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Associated PressLANSING, Mich. — The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 120 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were "sister survivor warriors....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 2 hours ago

TexasVoter-fraud panel targeted Hispanics, documents showPresident Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission specifically asked for records identifying all Texas voters with Hispanic surnames, according to newly released documents. Records made public by...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Baby, 11 months, dies in reported drowning at Brandon apartments’ pool

BRANDON — An 11-month-old girl’s parents said their daughter drowned in an apartment complex pond Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The infant and her parents were not publicly identified by the Sheriff’s Office. The paren...
Updated: 2 hours ago