Monday, June 18, 2018

Writers

Laura C. Morel

Laura C. Morel

Laura covers law enforcement and courts in Pinellas County. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in May 2012. Born and raised in Miami, she speaks Spanish and holds degrees from Miami Dade College and Emerson College in Boston.



Wesley Chapel family law attorney Don McBath is running for a Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge seat. He acknowledged to the Tampa Bay Times that he has made deragatory comments about Muslim and LGBTQ communities on his social media accounts. Despite his personal beliefs, McBath said he can still treat those litigants fairly from the bench. [Don McBath campaign / Twitter / Facebook]

A Tampa Bay lawyer tweets ‘never trust a Muslim.’ Now he wants to be a judge.

A family law attorney running for a Pinellas-Pasco circuit judgeship said he can be impartial on the bench to Muslims and LGBTQ people — despite the derogatory social media posts he has written about both groups.Donald McBath logged onto his...
Updated one month ago
From left, Ashley and Aleesha Mance were 6 years old when Jessy Joe Roten fired into their father's St. Petersburg home, killing Ashley and wounding Aleesha. [Courtesy of Yahaira Valentine]

A white supremacist killed her twin. Why did she forgive him?

As a fifth-grader, Aleesha Mance wrote an essay about her sister’s killer, explaining how peer pressure and drugs led the 17-year-old to make a deadly choice.In high school, she searched for his name online. She read news articles about a teen...
Updated one month ago
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Joey Wendle, left, tags out Kansas City Royals' Jon Jay during the first inning of the Rays' 5-3 win on Wednesday, sweeping the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

The Daystarter: St. Petersburg man is first vaping death; MacDill addressing AirFest traffic woes; Romano on how gun law really protects lawmakers; can Lightning even it up?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Sick of all the rain? Too bad. More moisture is forecast.
Updated one month ago
A former Pinellas County Sheriff Office deputy was charged with shooting a handcuffed man during a traffic stop at John's Pass in 2015. Timothy Virden, 62, pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter and was sentenced to three years probation, avoiding a prison sentence. The incident cost him his job as a deputy. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

A former deputy faced five years in prison for shooting a handcuffed man. He got probation.

A fired Pinellas sheriff’s deputy charged with shooting a handcuffed man during a 2015 traffic stop in Madeira Beach will spend no time in prison.Timothy Virden, 62, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted manslaughter. He faced up to five years in...
Updated one month ago
The Florida State Prison in 2011. Times files

Criminal justice reform advocates call for lawmakers to reconsider prison budget cuts

ST. PETERSBURG — From the confines of an Ocala prison, Taylor Lawrance wrote a letter to her mother after her 18th birthday."I don’t know anything about the real world," wrote Lawrance, who is serving a 10-year sentence for a home invasion...
Updated one month ago
MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
 Guns on display at Value Cash Pawn on July 19, 2017, in Alamonte Springs, Fla.

Hillsborough has banned thousands of people from buying guns. Why haven’t other counties?

Hillsborough County leads Florida in the number of people with mental health histories banned from buying firearms.Their names are entered into a statewide database reviewed by licensed gun dealers during background checks.In the past...
Updated: 2 months ago
Police have identified the woman whose body was found in a backyard shed on April 30, 2018, as 29-year-old Cheyenne Snyder, a nine-year St. Petersburg resident originally from Galion, Ohio. According to police, Snyder was shot after an argument with Angelo Dante Beckford, 40, who was taken into custody and facing a second-degree murder charge, jail records show. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times; Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Witness who reported seeing body in storage box: ‘It was the right thing to do’

ST. PETERSBURG — It was supposed to be a typical Monday morning for Earnest Burney. On weekdays before driving to handyman appointments, he heads to his friend Ibn Jackson’s house on 16th Avenue S in Bartlett Park.The friends sit on the front...
Updated: 2 months ago
Police have identified the woman whose body was found in a backyard shed on April 30, 2018, as 29-year-old Cheyenne Snyder, a nine-year St. Petersburg resident originally from Galion, Ohio. According to police, Snyder was shot after an argument with Angelo Dante Beckford, 40, who was taken into custody and facing a second-degree murder charge, jail records show. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times; Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Woman found in backyard caught in downward spiral of drugs, abuse

ST. PETERSBURG — Scott Snyder remembered his youngest daughter Cheyenne before her life descended into a cycle of drugs and abuse.She loved volleyball, he said. The family moved a few times while Cheyenne was growing up in Galion, Ohio. But she...
Updated: 2 months ago
Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) attempts to guide the puck into the net as Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) blocks his shot during the first period of Monday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]

The Daystarter: Lightning even playoff series; it's harder to track bad substitutes in Hillsborough; more on man with body in shed; how she skirted Busch Gardens’ free beer rules

Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including free admission at the Glazer Children’s Museum, Gulfport’s Fresh Market and the Tampa...
Updated: 2 months ago
A St. Petersburg SWAT team investigates the scene at 524 16th Ave. S, where a body was found. Officers arrested Angelo Dante Beckford, 40 (left), after he fled from them near his home in the Bartlett Park area. [LAURA C. MOREL  |  Times/Florida Department of Corrections]

St. Pete police: Witnesses said man showed off body in his shed

ST. PETERSBURG — Angelo Dante Beckford invited some people over to his house. He had something he wanted to show them inside a shed in the back yard.It was the body of a woman, police said.Those guests went to St. Petersburg police...
Updated: 2 months ago