Tuesday, April 24, 2018
News Roundup

Jury selected in trial of man accused of killing daughter-in-law

BROOKSVILLE — Brett Hattenbrun nodded, said good morning and smiled when the judge introduced him to prospective jurors. A small-framed man with glasses and graying hair, Hattenbrun laughed along with the rest of the courtroom when a prospective juror said something funny.

Dressed in a gray suit, the 63-year-old appeared relaxed and congenial on Monday, not like a man accused of beating his daughter-in-law to death and then shooting a nail gun at deputies who came to arrest him.

By the end of the day, Hernando Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. and attorneys on both sides had selected 14 jurors for Hattenbrun's first-degree murder trial. Opening statements are set for this morning.

Sometime about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, 2011, authorities say, Hattenbrun walked from his home to his son's house, about 100 yards down Owl Road near Weeki Wachee in Hernando County. Investigators say he intended to confront Joey Hattenbrun about marital problems she was having with his son, Chad, but the meeting turned violent.

Hattenbrun is accused of beating the 30-year-old with a blunt object as she stood in her driveway near the stairs leading to her front door. To make it look like a mugging gone wrong, detectives say, Hattenbrun stole several items from her.

Chad Hattenbrun came home an hour after the beating and found his wife bleeding on the driveway. The pharmacist technician and mother of a 3-year-old boy was flown to the hospital, where she died.

Detectives identified Brett Hattenbrun within days as a prime suspect in the killing and gathered enough evidence to search his home. Days later, five deputies approached the small, secluded house and asked him to come outside. Hattenbrun told them he was changing clothes and would be out soon.

He then swung the door open and tossed a Molotov cocktail at deputies, creating a massive fireball. He then began firing a nail gun at them while using the door as a shield, deputies said.

Detective Bryan Faulkingham shot Hattenbrun in the abdomen, and Hattenbrun was taken to a hospital.

Within hours, Hattenbrun confessed and indicated to investigators that he attacked deputies because he had hoped they would kill him. He was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, three counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, and two counts of throwing a destructive device.

A grand jury later indicted Hattenbrun on charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon. The murder and attempted murder charges carry mandatory sentences of life in prison.

Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter tried unsuccessfully at a previous hearing to keep Hattenbrun's statement from being admitted as evidence. Fanter argued that Hattenbrun made the statement hours after being read his rights in the back of the ambulance.

Comments
St. Pete Pier public arts committee to meet with finalists, make decision

St. Pete Pier public arts committee to meet with finalists, make decision

ST. PETERSBURG — The pier public arts committee is expected to decide today which artist or artists will have their work showcased in the new 26-acre Pier District. The committee, which selected six finalists with the help of consultant Ann Wykell, w...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox’s ‘Empire’ say they’d like to tell Tampa stories

Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox’s ‘Empire’ say they’d like to tell Tampa stories

JaNeika and JaSheika James’ television obsession was fueled by scarcity and convenience. As self-described "military brats" living in Germany, the girls treasured the VHS tapes their grandmother shipped overseas filled with English-language Saturday ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
The Daystarter: A Patrick-Jolly gubernatorial run in 2018?; Air Force major convicted of kidnapping his own daughter; and Romano writes St. Pete has a trust problem.

The Daystarter: A Patrick-Jolly gubernatorial run in 2018?; Air Force major convicted of kidnapping his own daughter; and Romano writes St. Pete has a trust problem.

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Give thanks for drier air. There is a small rain chance this morning, but things dry out by the afternoon, according to 10Weather WTSP. Beats yesterday’s humidity. The high temperatur...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Armed Forces History Museum collection has a new home, but new owner is a mystery

Armed Forces History Museum collection has a new home, but new owner is a mystery

LARGO — The contents of the Armed Forces History Museum have been sold, but no one is ready to talk about the future of the collection of military memorabilia.A collector named John Piazza used his personal collection to start the public museum, whic...
Published: 04/24/18
Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

TORONTO — Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 3-1 to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series Monday night.William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec, into an empty net, scored for the Leafs, who tr...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA — The 750-foot-long Ireland, one of the biggest cargo vessels ever to call at Port Tampa Bay, arrived Sunday.The Ireland is on its inaugural voyage, having left a shipyard in China for a stop in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to pick up 64,865 shor...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa marks the start of construction Tuesday on its first building, the posh JW Marriott hotel, but there’s a lot more to come.And soon.Within a year, developers said Monday, construction should be underway on 10 — 10! — of Wate...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

TAMPA — A jury Monday found a former Air Force major guilty of kidnapping his daughter and holding her overseas to stop his ex-wife from exercising her part of a Hillsborough County custody agreement.Andrew Haley Morcombe had argued that his 2014 jau...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden Cou...
Updated: 29 minutes ago