Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Zachary T. Sampson, Times staff writer

Zachary T. Sampson, Times staff writer

Zack covers crime and breaking news in the St. Petersburg office. He joined the Times in September 2014 and previously worked for the Boston Globe and the New Bedford Standard-Times in Massachusetts. He was raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Northeastern University, where he studied journalism and sociology.

From left: Congressman Charlie Crist, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway during a meeting this summer to discuss the ongoing car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Another teen fights for his life following reported stolen car crash

ST. PETERSBURG — Another teenager is fighting for his life after a crash involving a car that was later reported stolen, according to police.The 15-year-old was a passenger in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro that hit a tree in the 4000 block of 11th...
Updated: 10 hours ago
St. Petersburg Police Officer Cory Crawford talks with James Evans, 33, in Fossil Park during a

Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

ST. PETERSBURG — Police Chief Tony Holloway has made getting officers out of their cars, walking streets and talking to residents a key plank in his effort to improve relations between his department and the community.But three years into his...
Published: 11/20/17
Defense attorney Willie Pura, left, listens to a potential juror at the start of Adam Matos trial earlier this month at the West Pasco Judicial Center.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

As jury begins deliberations, theories on why Adam Matos would tell a jury he killed four people

There were no witnesses when Adam Matos shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and her father, and bludgeoned her mother and new boyfriend to death in Hudson three years ago.
Published: 11/16/17
Adam Matos, left, is accused in the brutal 2014 slayings of four people in Hudson. At right is defense attorney Catherine Garrett. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

Adam Matos claims self-defense, says ‘paranoia’ led to brutal Hudson quadruple-homicide

Deputies followed the smell to the bodies, stacked four high on a hill in Hudson. The victims had been killed at a nearby home on Hatteras Drive, where investigators found blood stains and evidence of a slaughter.But for three years, no one...
Published: 11/15/17
Mayor Rick Kriseman talks to supporters at a primary election party in August. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]

Rick Kriseman bet on partisanship in the era of Donald Trump, and won

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman’s campaign team had little doubt about one key strategy in his re-election bid this summer.President Donald Trump was seemingly on every voter’s mind. And though the mayoral race was supposed to be...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (right) defeated former Mayor Rick Baker (left). [Times]

Breaking down the data behind Mayor Rick Kriseman’s decisive victory

In two months, Mayor Rick Kriseman turned a 70-vote lead in his bid for reelection into a more than 2,000-vote victory. He and former Mayor Rick Baker finished an August primary in a dead heat, but the incumbent won decisively on Election Day. How did...
Published: 11/08/17
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay during a news conference prior to the National League Championship Series in Philadelphia on Oct. 15, 2010. [Associated Press, WTSP]

Former MLB star Roy Halladay dead in plane crash in Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY — Roy Halladay, a former Major League Baseball all star pitcher who became a beloved youth coach in Tampa Bay, died Tuesday when his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.He was 40 years old.A resident in the Gulf Harbors...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/08/17
Crime scene investigators examine the scene where three teens were killed and one was injured after the stolen SUV they were in violently wrecked west of US 19 on Tampa Road in August. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times

Hours after fatal stolen car crash, surviving teens talked unfiltered about the crime

Deyon Kaigler wasn’t cold, but he kept shaking.Hours earlier, his close friend and two other teens died in a fiery stolen car wreck in Palm Harbor. Deyon had been following in a stolen convertible with a second teenager, Kamal Campbell, when...
Updated one month ago
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
 St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway, left, talks about the killing of a man driving a pickup truck stolen during a carjacking, during a news conference at police headquarters on October 25, 2017.

St. Petersburg carjacking suspect killed in shootout with police

By Zachary T. Sampson and Samantha PuttermanST. PETERSBURG — Police officers shot and killed a man who they say fired a semiautomatic handgun at them after bailing from a stolen truck early Wednesday.Timothy Earl Jackson, 33, died at a...
Updated one month ago
One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas Countyâ\u0080\u0099s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]

Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay’s largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.Hundreds of members of Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST) voted...
Updated one month ago