Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Restaurant owner ruled incompetent for chop shop trial

Tim Walters, 66, faces racketeering charge after 2005 arrest.

Tim Walters, 66, faces racketeering charge after 2005 arrest.

ST. PETERSBURG — A well-known barbecue restaurant owner charged with racketeering has been found incompetent to stand trial because of symptoms he suffered after a stroke.

Timothy Walters, 66, owner of Big Tim's Bar B Q on 34th Street S was arrested in January 2005 on a racketeering charge. He was released from jail three months later after posting a $750,000 bond.

Pinellas Circuit Judge Timothy Peters found Walters incompetent last week because a stroke has left him unable to communicate with his lawyer, prosecutors said.

Walters opened his first barbecue restaurant after moving to St. Petersburg in 1964. His barbecue sauce has been widely acclaimed, and some consider it the area's best.

Prosecutors say that next to his restaurant Walters ran a chop shop, where he bought, repainted and sold stolen cars. He also frequently dealt in stolen construction equipment, court documents state.

Walters ran the operation with an iron fist. He told one man that if he stole anything from him, he had "killers out there who will (mess) you up, break your legs and arms," documents state.

Another witness told police that Walters "had made people disappear in the past," records state.

The racketeering charge also includes an accusation that Walters hired a man to commit a 1997 murder. A man arrested in that murder said he was hired to do it but would not reveal who hired him when he was sentenced to life in prison.

Restaurant owner ruled incompetent for chop shop trial 07/03/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 1:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.