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Murder, pornography cases crowd Hernando courtroom

BROOKSVILLE — Several murder suspects, including John Kalisz, accused of killing his sister and another woman before shooting a deputy to death earlier this year, received court dates Friday in a busy day at the Hernando County courthouse.

Kalisz, 55, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, will have a pre-trial hearing Sept. 22 at 10 a.m.

Authorities say Kalisz killed Kathryn Donovan and Deborah Tillotson and wounded two other women in a Brooksville home before fleeing to a gas station on U.S. 19 in Dixie County where he is accused of fatally shooting Dixie Sheriff's Office Capt. Chad Reed.

Kalisz will stand trial on for the murder of Reed on Aug. 16 at the Dixie County Courthouse.

Also on Friday, a jury convicted Joe Edwin Rogers, 49 of Homosassa on 125 counts of possessing child pornography.

Prosecutor Brian Trehy displayed all 125 pornographic images for the jury. Their deliberation took just over an hour, Trehy said.

Rogers faces a minimum of 42 years in prison, Trehy said, and a maximum of life in prison. His sentencing is set for Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. in Circuit Judge Jack Springstead's courtroom.

Rogers surrendered to Citrus County authorities Nov. 9, 2009. Authorities said he got the child pornography over the Internet.

Because the Rogers trial went on longer than expected, Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee said, another trial scheduled to begin in Springstead's courtroom on Friday has been postponed.

Adrian House, 27 of Brooksville faces two counts of robbery with a firearm in connection with the 2007 Boyett's Grove and Citrus Attraction robbery.

The House trial is now set to begin Aug. 23, Barbee said, but it could collide with the first day of murder suspect Robert Jardin's trial, set for the same courtroom.

Jardin faces two counts of first-degree murder in the October 2006 stabbing deaths of Patrick and Evelyn DePalma. If the trial for Jardin begins on Aug. 23, Barbee said, House's trial will be moved to Sept. 7.

Pre-trial hearings were also set Friday for two men involved in another high-profile murder case.

Stephen Horne, 19, and Angel Gonzalez, 26, drove Horne's father Ivan Horne to a vacant Ridge Manor house on May 3, authorities said.

Stephen Horne then shot his father in the back, then three times in the torso, before taking 22 Oxycodone pills and about $640 from the dead man's pants pockets, prosecutors say.

Laura J. Nelson can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or at

Murder, pornography cases crowd Hernando courtroom 07/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 30, 2010 8:29pm]
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