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Manslaughter trial begins for man in two teens' deaths

Joshua Naylor's family took it as a sign when he died at the beginning of his girlfriend's funeral.

His mother, Dawn Naylor, said her son loved Amanda Angell so much, he couldn't bear to be parted from her.

"He had to walk her to heaven," Dawn Naylor said. "He wasn't going to let her do that by herself."

The trial of Jerome T. Freeland Jr., who is accused of killing the two teen passengers in a 2005 car wreck, began Wednesday. Freeland is facing two counts of DUI manslaughter in the deaths.

Freeland, 21, crashed into a wall outside Sun Coast Hospital on Dec. 28, 2005, killing Angell instantly. Naylor died six days later.

Investigators said Freeland's Honda Accord had been traveling the speed limit and simply failed to turn with the road.

Freeland initially said he couldn't remember what happened leading up to the accident. Toxicology reports later showed he was under the influence of marijuana during the crash.

Largo police Officer Carl Carbaugh testified Tuesday that Freeland was incoherent, speaking rapidly and writhing in his hospital bed after the accident.

"He basically told me he didn't remember anything," Carbaugh said.

No skid marks were found at the accident scene and Freeland's pupils were dilated, Carbaugh said.

Carbaugh also testified that Freeland told him he smoked marijuana, but not the day of the crash.

Freeland's attorneys said nurses and doctors at Bayfront Medical Center, where Freeland was treated, contradicted Carbaugh's testimony and said his pupils and breathing were normal.

Noel Palma, a Pinellas County medical examiner, said Naylor died of complications from blunt force trauma. Doctors had to cut into his skull to release pressure on the brain from bleeding.

Palma said his office also found Naylor had a 0.10 blood alcohol content and marijuana in his system.

Another expert testified that Angell died of trauma to her torso. Nicotine was found in her system.

Forensic examiners found more than 180 grams of marijuana and 0.2 grams of LSD in the car.

Prosecutors said they planned to finish their case this afternoon and hope to give it to the jury Friday.

Families of both teens said nothing could heal their pain or bring their loved ones back.

"He needs to serve some hard time," said Darlene Muss, Amanda's mother. "He needs to be held accountable."

COUNTYWIDE

Old cell phones can be lifeline for seniors

Senior Citizens Services welcomes donations of old cell phones to be distributed to needy seniors as 911 emergency phones.

The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and phones are distributed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Senior Citizens Services is in Belcher Commons Office Park at 51 S Main Ave., Suite 308-M, Clearwater.

For information, call (727) 442-8104.

COUNTYWIDE

Free help for folks with hearing loss

Florida residents with hearing loss can receive amplified telephones and specialized equipment for no cost at the Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay.

Free hearing screenings, other assisting equipment and low cost hearing aids are also available at locations across Pinellas County.

Call (727) 399-9983 or visit www.ftri.org for locations and information.

COUNTYWIDE

Print out checklist for disaster survival

Pinellas County Emergency Management has created a printable disaster survival kit that can make shopping for essential items easier.

For information on hurricane preparedness, call 464-3800 or go to www.pinellascounty.org/emergency.

Manslaughter trial begins for man in two teens' deaths 06/11/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:04pm]

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