Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Victim's daughter testifies in Dooley trial

TAMPA — Danielle James is just on that cusp between child and adolescent. She'll turn 11 next month. She can speak maturely and calmly about the day two years ago when her father died in front of her, but only while clutching her stuffed bunny, Monica.

Inadvertently Friday, Danielle helped the man who shot and killed her father defend himself against manslaughter. Contrary to other witnesses in a trial this week, Danielle didn't say she heard a curse or saw a gun. She said she only saw the man — 71-year-old Trevor Dooley — try to walk away.

She called him "Trevor."

She may not have known which was his last name.

Danielle testified on closed-circuit television in a room adjacent to the courtroom where Dooley has stood trial all week for the death of 41-year-old David James. Lawyers agreed it could be emotionally harmful for Danielle to sit in the same room as Dooley.

Dooley's attorney asked her to recall a September Sunday in 2010. "I was playing basketball with my dad," she said. They were at a park in the East Lake neighborhood in Valrico.

She remembered Dooley puttering around in his driveway across the street. She thought he was washing his car, but he actually was fixing a mower.

She remembered how Dooley started yelling at a teenage skateboarder who was practicing tricks on the other end of the court. Her dad told Dooley to let the kid be, or show him a sign that said no skateboarding. She then saw Dooley walk across the street.

All this Danielle narrated calmly. She has her mother's eyes, but looks like she'll have her father's height. She looked straight ahead, never down. She wore pigtails with a red headband.

Dooley's attorney, Ron Tulin, guided her gently to the critical moment.

She said Dooley and her father confronted each other in the grass beside the court. She watched them from under a tree.

"My dad was walking up to him. (Dooley) turned, acting like he was going to walk home. I don't remember if (Dooley) said anything. My dad was kind of getting louder.

"He tried to get the man to come back. He kind of like walked fast, he asked 'Where's the sign?'

"The man turned around and came back."

That was the last question Tulin asked her.

Other witnesses have testified that Dooley flashed a gun before he walked away, then pulled it out when he came back. James grabbed his hand, they said, and both fell to the ground. Dooley fired, and James died from a shot through his heart.

Danielle wasn't asked to remember that. The trial was halted shortly after her testimony and will resume Monday, when Dooley is expected to testify.

Danielle left Friday for Minnesota, where she lives with a paternal aunt. It's where her father grew up. She's in the fifth grade, and a good student, according to her mother.

But Danielle has been in counseling for two years. On the day her father died, she couldn't speak.

Her mother, Kanina, has also struggled. Danielle was placed under the supervision of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Kanina James declined to talk about why, or whether they will be reunified, but she said she gets to visit. Danielle sat with her aunt during Friday's testimony while her mother watched from the courtroom.

Danielle will see her mother again a week after her birthday — at Christmas.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or [email protected]

Comments

High school scoreboard for Feb. 22

Thursday’s scoreboardSoftballBoca Ciega 4, Pinellas Park 2Admiral Farragut 7, Northside Christian 1Boys tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Clearwater Central Cath. 4, Jesuit 3Girls tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Boys basketballClass 3A, region semifina...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally, managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighte...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention — the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House — CNN’s Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Updated: 6 hours ago