Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For Pam Bondi and Mark Ober, one case never ends

Pam Bondi left the Hillsborough County prosecutor's office to become attorney general, but she and her former boss have some unfinished business that both say is a matter of life and death — for them.

Bondi and Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober are lobbying against the release of a Florida inmate that Ober helped lock away more than three decades ago.

Both officials say they fear he would come after them if he gets out.

That's ridiculous, says the inmate's lawyer, who accuses Ober of carrying a 30-year "personal vendetta" against Charles Norman.

What's undeniably true is Norman has antagonized two people whose words have great weight at a parole hearing.

A former Tampa police officer, Norman was convicted of first-degree murder in 1980 in the shooting death of a young security guard during the 1975 robbery of a Pantry Pride grocery on Gandy Boulevard. He was sentenced to life with a 25-year minimum, and because he was sentenced before 1983, he's eligible for parole.

When Norman's latest petition for release came before the Florida Parole Commission a few weeks ago, Bondi and Ober argued forcefully against it. The panel promptly reset Norman's next parole hearing for 2017.

Soon after, the Department of Corrections transferred Norman, 62, from the faith-based prison in Wakulla County to Okaloosa C.I. in the western Panhandle.

"I request that this political dirty trick be rescinded," Norman's lawyer, William Sheppard, told prison officials.

"The department has exercised its statutory authority," a state lawyer wrote back.

Behind bars, Norman became an award-winning writer, skilled sculptor and active participant in prison ministries.

Allies continue to fight for his release on freecharlienow.com, claiming he was convicted by tainted testimony, and some powerful people have taken up his cause, including a former state senator and a nun at Jesuit High.

The syndicated columnist James Kilpatrick went to his grave convinced that Norman was framed, calling his trial a "travesty."

Bondi, who has previously joined Ober in opposing parole for Norman, has another view.

"He's the most chilling and manipulative inmate I've ever dealt with," she testified at Norman's March 21 hearing. "I am convinced if he is released, he will attempt to murder me."

Ober said a onetime cell mate of Norman's, habitual offender Gregg Quilling, told state law enforcement agents that Norman "hates Ober with a passion" and would "take Ober out" if he were free.

But Norman's attorney produced an affidavit signed by Quilling in November in which he said: "These allegations that Charlie made such comments to me about harming persons, especially a prosecutor, are totally false."

Ober noted that Quilling's allegations are on videotape and under oath, and he has monitored phone calls between Norman and a girlfriend, where the names Bondi and Ober came up often.

"He has a never-ending hatred and vendetta against both of us," said Ober, who prosecuted Norman. "He is consumed by both of us."

Steve Bousquet can be reached at bousquet@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263.

For Pam Bondi and Mark Ober, one case never ends 05/08/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 9:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”