Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Court Record: Trial leaves homeless Pasco man no better off

NEW PORT RICHEY — Shawn Evans wanted to tell his story unencumbered and without the annoyance of a lawyer's questions.

He'd waited a long time for the chance, in fact, more than 300 days — all of them spent in the Pasco County jail.

The state offered him an out, a sentence of time served, for showing up at a kindly neighbor's house and refusing to leave. But no, he wanted his day in court.

On a recent Tuesday, he wore a suit provided by the Public Defender's Office and headphones to aid his hearing. He was neatly shaved, a far cry from his rough-looking mug shot. Arrest reports list him as homeless. One deputy had noted in a report that he'd had "extensive history" with Evans, and by extension, the houses on Cardoon Drive.

In November of 2012, Evans was arrested on charges of trespassing, resisting arrest without violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.

The trial was set to last one day. The state called the deputies involved and the owner of the house as witnesses.

Finally, it was Evans' turn, but he was frustrated. Why couldn't he just talk? Why, he asked, did he have to be questioned? It wasn't fair, he said.

So, Circuit Judge Mary Handsel told him:

"If you think you're just going to stand at the witness stand and just talk for 30 minutes and nobody's going to stop you, you're wrong."

"That I don't agree with ma'am," he said.

"Okay, well, that's great you don't believe in it. It's the legal system. You're in it. We all went to law school, the five of us," she said as she pointed lawyers in the room. "And we spent three years of our lives, 24/7, learning a whole bunch of rules that we have to follow."

"Oh, I understand that," he said and trailed off.

"I may not like the rules," she said, "but I still have to follow them."

"True, true," he said. "I just want to make sure I know the rules that are legal within my knowledge of what is available legally."

"Okay, I just told you," she said, "and you didn't like the answer."

• • •

It started with cold soup.

The way Timothy Miller told it from the witness stand, he and Evans were friends. On that November evening, Evans asked to use Miller's microwave to heat his food up. Okay, Miller told him, but then you have to leave. Then, Evans wanted to use the computer. Feeling groggy from the sleeping pills he'd taken, Miller went to bed.

The next morning, Evans was still there. Miller, a soft-spoken man with a drawl and a long and neat white beard off his chin, made Evans some coffee. They talked about the Bible.

"When I'm discussing the word of God," Miller testified, "when the discussion turns into an argument I ask him to leave."

Things escalated, and Evans still wouldn't leave, even after Miller asked him "six or seven times." Miller called a deputy but hung up when Evans told him to "sit down and shut up."

A deputy showed up. Evans met him on the front yard and according to the deputy's testimony, Evans said he wasn't afraid of being arrested and waved a thick plastic cup around.

After some yelling, pushing and shoving, Evans went to jail.

• • •

"I won't testify," Evans told the judge.

"You won't?" she asked.

"I will not," he said.

The jury deliberated for 54 minutes before finding Evans guilty of resisting arrest and trespassing, but not of battery. A bailiff cuffed Evans' hands in front of him.

Handsel sentenced Evans to six months of probation and ordered him not to have contact with Miller.

"Mr. Evans, I realize you insisted on having your trial. I'm not sure the determination was different than what you would have had months ago," Handsel said. "You didn't have to stay in jail. Whatever you were trying to accomplish with a jury trial, I'm not sure if you accomplished it."

Comments
PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

A progressive super PAC slammed the congressional record of Democrat Gwen Graham as too conservative for Florida’s next governor.The Collective super PAC paid for the 30-second spot. The group supports black, progressive candidates and is backing Tal...
Updated: 7 hours ago

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75 near Wesley Chapel; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches; Kendrick Lamar here Tuesday

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hooper: Vote against the politics of division

My friend says instead of boycotting Publix, people upset about the company’s support of gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam should back voter registration drives and get more people to the polls.And when they register those voters, ask if they suppo...
Published: 05/21/18
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It’s called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It’s called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges.Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year project to turn I-7...
Published: 05/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

WEST PALM BEACH — The new U.S. National Hurricane Center director says learning about specific storm hazards is key to preparing for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. Ken Graham leads the U.S. government’s hurricane forecasting hub in Miami. At...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Unveiling for

Unveiling for "Fortune Taylor Bridge" marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

TAMPA — There’s a saying that everyone dies twice, Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco said Sunday: Once when they take their last breath. And again the last time someone mentions their name.So in this case, he said, the name "Fortune Taylor" ...
Updated: 9 hours ago