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Victim's widow outraged as Trevor Dooley freed during appeal of manslaughter conviction

TAMPA — More than two months after a jury found Trevor Dooley guilty of manslaughter in the September 2010 fatal shooting of a neighbor over skateboarding on a basketball court, Dooley will leave jail next week.

Circuit Judge Ashley Moody granted Dooley's motion for release Friday on $100,000 bond while he appeals his conviction. The decision pleased the 72-year-old school bus driver's attorney but enraged the victim's widow, who claims Dooley is feigning frailty.

In January, Moody sentenced Dooley to eight years in prison for killing 41-year-old David James. The men had argued about a skateboarder using a community basketball court in their Valrico neighborhood. Some wrestling ensued and Dooley shot James, who died in front of his 8-year-old daughter. Dooley unsuccessfully tried to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law as a defense.

"He killed my husband. He should be punished for that. And she's letting him walk free," Kanina James, 44, said of Dooley. "He's been free two and a half years now to spend extra time with his family. We didn't get one extra second with DJ (David James). He was ripped from our lives."

Kanina James attended Monday's hearing in which Dooley's attorney, Ronald Tulin, argued Dooley isn't a flight risk because he has family in the area and no criminal record besides the 2010 shooting.

Moody agreed, granting Dooley his release with conditions. He can't leave Hernando County except for court appearances or meetings with his attorney. (His wife moved to Spring Hill after they sold their Valrico home in November.) He must surrender his passport. And he can't own any weapons.

Dooley will have to post bond and be fitted for a tracking device, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon, and probably won't be released until Monday at the earliest.

"I'm very pleased with the court's ruling," said Tulin, who will not represent him in the appeal. "I think Judge Moody has been very fair to Mr. Dooley in all respects."

Kanina James had a different take on Moody, saying she has been too lenient. She also questioned Dooley's demeanor and use of a cane during Monday's hearing.

"This is ridiculous. He's not a frail old man," she said. "He's just acting like that to get sympathy."

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or

Victim's widow outraged as Trevor Dooley freed during appeal of manslaughter conviction 02/08/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 3:00pm]
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