Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan covers Hillsborough County courts for the Tampa Bay Times. Since joining the Times in 2010, he has written about unsolved crimes, the opioid epidemic, gun control, and Florida's death row, among other topics. In 2014, he was a Livingston Award finalist for a story that examined a legal loophole that allows Florida to hold mentally challenged criminal defendants without trial. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, he is a 2006 graduate of the University of Tampa, where he earned a degree in writing.

Trevor Dooley gets into a waiting vehicle after leaving the Orient Road Jail on Dec. 1, 2016. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Remember Trevor Dooley? His stand your ground case returns to court for appeal on Tuesday

TAMPA — Remember the case of Trevor Dooley?He’s the Valrico man who fatally shot one of his neighbors back in 2010 during a fight over a skateboarder on a basketball court. He later unsuccessfully invoked Florida’s stand your ground...
Published: 08/15/18
George Zachary Chronister listens to testimony his stand your ground hearing. Chronister, the son of Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, is accused of slashing and stabbing a man after a 2017 brawl outside a New Tampa restaurant. He argued it is a case of self defense. DIRK SHADD   |   Times

A judge saw this video before denying stand your ground claim by Hillsborough sheriff’s son

TAMPA — George Zachary Chronister may have feared embarrassment when he used a knife to slash and stab another man during a 2017 brawl.But he wasn’t in fear for his life and well-being, a judge ruled Tuesday.Hillsborough Circuit Judge...
Published: 08/14/18
Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump arrives at the St. John Primitive Baptist Church in Clearwater to give a press conference on the killing of Markeis McGlockton. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times

Florida’s Benjamin Crump ascended to prominence through pursuit of racial justice

CLEARWATER — Benjamin Crump paced the narrow hallway, squeezing through the crowd as the booming bass of Gospel music escaped from the sanctuary. He smiled and greeted the families of Trayvon Martin and Markeis McGlockton, who had assembled outside a...
Published: 08/13/18
Makers of opiates have been the target of legal actions nationwide by state and local governments. [AP (2013)]

Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to file a lawsuit next week against companies that manufacture opioid drugs, alleging that aggressive marketing of painkillers worsened the opioid crisis.The county joins a number of other local governments...
Published: 08/10/18
George Zachary Chronister (right) looks on while his attorneys talk during Chronister's stand your ground hearing as he is charged with slashing and stabbing Phillip Manzi during a fight in 2017. Chronister, the son of Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, is arguing that it is a case of self defense. Judge Chris Nash presided over the hearing in Tampa Thursday afternoon. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Witnesses recount stabbing in Hillsborough Sheriff’s son’s stand your ground hearing

TAMPA — On social media, he is Zchronik, hard-partying amateur rapper who croons about drugs and sex and using a knife to slash the face of a fist-fighting foe.In a Tampa courtroom Thursday afternoon, he was George Zachary Chronister, a...
Published: 08/09/18
A GoFundMe page apparently created by Je'Hyrah Daniels' father says the girl had been diagnosed with autism and

Child protective investigation found no concerns about 4-year-old days before her death in Hillsborough River

TAMPA About six weeks ago, child-protection workers fielded a report from someone who said Shakayla Denson wasn’t properly supervising her daughter.The 4-year-old autistic girl was non-verbal, according to the caller, and Denson seemed...
Published: 08/03/18
Updated: 08/04/18
Shoes can be seen under a car that Shakayla Denson stole and then parked near the Hillsborough River on Thursday, Tampa police said. Denson is accused of taking her 4-year-old daughter Je'Hyrah Daniels from the car to the river and leaving her there to die. [BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times]

Witnesses: Girl struggled, screamed as mother dragged her into Hillsborough River

TAMPA — The girl couldn’t talk but, thrashing in her mother’s arms as they approached the river, she screamed.Along the banks, passersby turned and stared, telling police later Thursday that they watched the woman drag her daughter from a car,...
Published: 08/03/18
Shekayla Denson appears in court Friday to face charges in the death of of her 4-year-old daughter. Tampa police say Denson left the girl to die in the Hillsborough River. [SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times]

Mother ordered held without bail in death of daughter left in Hillsborough River

TAMPA — Shekayla Denson, the woman police say drowned her 4-year-old daughter in the Hillsborough River, has been ordered held without bail until a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Published: 08/03/18
Four of Florida's five district appellate courts have secure courthouses. But the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which meets in Tampa, leases space in the Stetson Law Center near downtown. In May, a stray bullet pierced a judge's third-floor office window and richoted near his stand-up work station.  [OCTAVIO JONES  | Times]

Tampa appellate judges long for a home (without bullets)

TAMPA — The bullet pierced a third-floor window and blew glass shards over a desk and chairs. A security officer noticed spiderweb cracks in the pane when he arrived at work on Memorial Day.In a report, police described the location as an...
Published: 08/02/18
Updated: 08/10/18
A photo of a McDonald's food bag with a gun inside is one of  more than 2,000 photographs the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office released Monday documenting crime scenes and evidence in their case against Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, charged with four shooting deaths in southeast Seminole Heights. [Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office]

Prosecutors release photographs documenting Seminole Heights killings investigation

TAMPA — The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office released thousands of photographs Monday documenting crime scenes and evidence in their case against Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, the man charged with four shooting deaths in southeast Seminole...
Published: 08/01/18