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Trial begins for man accused of shooting St. Petersburg detective

LARGO -- Jury selection has begun in the first of two attempted murder trials stemming from the shooting of a St. Petersburg detective.

The shooting came during a robbery attempt last year at a Blockbuster Video store, at 5100 66th St. N in St. Petersburg.

Joseph Hollings Jr. and Velislav Matzov are accused of walking into the video store on April 30, 2008, with their faces concealed and their handguns drawn. They headed out of the store with about $300, authorities said.

A special police unit was watching the store at the time, and officers ordered the two men to stop. Instead, authorities say, Matzov shot one of the detectives.

Matzov has been charged with attempted murder and robbery and goes on trial today. The trial for Hollings begins next week.

Danielle Karlau, 19, was accused of driving the car the men used, although she did not go into the video store. She pleaded guilty last month to attempted felony murder and robbery, and is set to be sentenced next month. Under a plea agreement, she will be sentenced to no more than 33.2 years, and must testify in the trials of Hollings and Matzov.

Police never named the detective, because he was working undercover. He has recovered from his injuries and is back on the job, said police spokesman George Kajtsa.

Trial begins for man accused of shooting St. Petersburg detective 08/03/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 3, 2009 4:51pm]
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