Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Of all the murder trials in Pasco in 2013, three stand out

Of all the murder trials in Pasco this year, three stood out. Perhaps the most brutal and noteworthy was John Sexton, 50, found guilty of murdering, raping and mutilating a 94-year old woman named Ann Parlato. He was sentenced to death.

Harleme Larry, 18, was 14 years old when he shot a man in Dade City named Agustin Hernandez in an apparent robbery that netted him a mere $4. A judge sentenced him to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

One trial put a man in jail for life — 30 years after he killed his wife. William Hurst, 62, was found guilty of murder after DNA matched an unidentified Jane Doe to Amy Rose Hurst.

The 29-year-old mother of two disappeared from her New Port Richey home in September of 1982. A fishing boat crew found her unidentifiable body the next month several miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island. Her body, wrapped in an afghan and a green bedspread, was tied to a concrete block.

Several witnesses for the prosecution testified the couple had a volatile relationship and that Hurst often struck his wife. When she disappeared, detectives questioned Hurst but could not arrest him because they had no body, and thus no crime.

The body went unidentified until 2011 when her son, James Earley, found an online database about missing people and submitted a matching DNA sample. The image of Hurst beating his mother stayed with him his whole life, he said.

"We did our sentence for 30 years," Earley said after the conviction. "He gets to do his now."

Larry went to trial the first week of June. The young man had a troubled upbringing — his stepfather killed his mother when he was just 3 years old. His grandmother raised him, but she fell ill and he started having behavioral problems she couldn't handle.

On the night of July 10, 2010, authorities said he approached four men sitting on a truck bed on Oak Street in Dade City. He demanded money with a gun in his hand. The man he killed, Hernandez, was a married father of two. Jurors deliberated for 10 hours in June before they found him guilty.

In Florida, defendants convicted of first-degree murder face either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility for parole. However, a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case — Miller vs. Alabama — struck down mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles. That meant Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa had more leeway in Larry's sentencing.

"A life without the possibility of redemption isn't appropriate for a 14-year-old," Siracusa said.

Sexton faced a jury of his peers in April. Prosecutors said he killed Parlato in her Port Richey home on Sept. 22, 2010. He crushed her skull and mutilated her upper body. Her lower parts, he burned. There was a stab wound to her abdomen, inflicted after she died. It was a crime so brutal then-Sheriff Bob White called it one of the worst his team had ever seen.

Sexton's lack of an alibi besides "I didn't do it" and Parlato's DNA on his clothes the day after the murder cemented his conviction.

During and after his trial, he complained about his representation — lawyers were appointed for him by the state — and blamed the jury's conclusion on his attorneys' incompetence. In a jailhouse interview, he painted himself as normal and said he wasn't like other criminals. He wanted the death penalty, he said, because the appeals moved more quickly than with a life sentence.

He did not react when Circuit Judge Mary Handsel sentenced him to be executed.

"This murder was indeed a helpless, pitiless crime," the judge said.

 
Comments

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

1. Was editor of her high school newspaper, president of her 4-H club.2. Started stripping at age 17 in Baton Rouge, La.3. Made her first porn film with a girlfriend.4. Took her stage name from the Motley Crue bassist, who named his son Storm, and fr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

TAMPA — In the center of the nightclub, between the cigar case and bustling bar, a giant screen blankets the back wall. Usually, ads for drink specials and coming attractions scroll across.But Friday night, a life-size picture of President Donald Tru...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Updated: 11 hours ago
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Published: 02/17/18

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Published: 02/17/18