Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Land O'Lakes man claims he was insane when he shot wife

NEW PORT RICHEY — It's not a whodunit. Attorneys on both sides agree that Theodore Diller, 70, killed his wife on Feb. 22, 2012, with two shots from a .357-caliber revolver. He covered her with a blanket and then took a lot of pills.

"I popped her once. I popped her again to make sure," prosecutor Eva Vergos said Tuesday during opening arguments in Diller's murder trial, repeating Diller's confession. "I took something that was almost a societal beast, a disease, off the market."

The disagreement over what motivated the shooting begins and ends at the why. The defense says Diller was insane when he killed his wife and should be acquitted. The state says the murder was premeditated.

Diller and his wife, Rhonda, filed for divorce in 2008, but then closed the case themselves. They filed again in 2010, and were close to a final resolution, Vergos said. However, Diller worried that he would lose his lakefront home on Julia Lane in Land O'Lakes, in the divorce. So he took action.

The marriage, Vergos said, was not a great one — contentious, bitter and exhausting. Rhonda Diller was 19 when she married. It was her first and her husband's third. She died at 58.

The night before the killing, Diller complained to friends that he was going to be homeless. He loved that lakefront property, Vergos said, and he didn't want to lose it.

Defense attorney Catherine Garrett told jurors the case was about two mentally ill people on a crash course to disaster.

"It's not about who, when, where or how," she said. "It's about why. Why did he kill his beloved wife and then try to take his own life?"

Diller's friend Ricky Perez testified that he found Diller unconscious in the kitchen of his home the day of the shooting. Diller told him not to call 911. He did, and when paramedics arrived they found guns on the counter. When they cleared one, Perez noticed two bullets missing. He went to check on Rhonda Diller and found her on the ground covered by a blanket.

Garrett said Diller was "in a state of mental illness so severe it would qualify for insanity."

The trial is expected to last all week. Diller faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Comments
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

For decades, Americans were told that Area 51 didn’t really exist and that the U.S. government had no official interest in aliens or UFOs. Statements to the contrary, official-sounding people cautioned, were probably the musings of crackpots in tinfo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Jon Gruden will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor tonight, but could it be more than just that as the Glazers may be looking for a new head coach come January? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Gruden would coac...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Homestead boy, 13

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 13-year-old Homestead boy.According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, John Noble-Sinclair had last seen Sunday in the area of 300 block of Southwest 4th Avenue.The case has been resolv...
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

WASHINGTON — LeBron James made a statement during an NBA game with his shoes — one black, one white, with the word "equality" in capital gold letters on the back of each.Then, after the game, James made a statement about President Donald Trump, sayin...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies seek suspects who fired shots into crowded Northdale nightclub

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the suspects who fired shots inside a crowded nightclub in Northdale early Monday morning.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, deputies patrolling the area heard shooting coming...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Thick fog will usher in a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast The fog is especially thick along the Interstate 4 corridor in eastern Hillsborough County into Polk County, with visibilities to near zero in Lakeland ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

TAMPA — If you could pay $19.19 to ship a package instead of $227.32, wouldn’t you go for the cheaper rate?That’s the question raised by Rob Barrow and Will Sands, Marine combat veterans and businessmen from Tampa who say the Department of Veterans o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

• A warming trend will bring high temperatures around 80 and mostly sunny skies throughout the week, according to 10Weather WTSP. Overnight lows will be in the 60s with our next rain chance coming on Thursday.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• As ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. national security strategy plan presents China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States, Trump administration officials said Sunday.President Don...
Updated: 2 hours ago