TAMPA — A Tampa Day School principal admitted in a recorded phone call to fondling a 14-year-old male student he had befriended, authorities said, and has been arrested on a felony charge.
James Jerome Larkin, 63, was the middle school principal at the private school near Citrus Park, which specializes in teaching children with mild to moderate learning disabilities, dyslexia, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ...
04/14/14 Public Safety
The ground search for a missing Zephyrhills pilot was suspended Saturday evening after authorities spent a week hunting through Citrus and Hernando counties and miles of densely wooded forest.
Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said in a news release that "crews have exhausted our efforts and diligently searched our ground search area."
Air searches for 74-year-old Theodore Weiss will continue, Moloney said, and new ground search requests will be investigated as needed....
It was supposed to be an overnight resurfacing job.
Work would begin late Saturday on two northbound lanes of Interstate 275, just east of the Howard Frankland Bridge, and be done early Sunday. Minimal traffic disruption.
At least, that was the plan.
The asphalt was late. Work went past schedule. When the road finally reopened, the new surface was torn up by traffic. The lanes were closed again....
Police have arrested a third teenager in the Tuesday attack on an 83-year-old Pinellas Park man.
Jazmine Burney, 15, of St. Petersburg turned herself in to police late Thursday and was arrested on a charge of armed robbery with a deadly weapon. Antonio Peterson, 16, of St. Petersburg faces the same charge.
Police said they think Peterson's 13-year-old brother was also involved in the incident at 10 a.m. Tuesday that left Charles Clark badly beaten and with three stab wounds on his arm. ...
Two teen brothers wanted in connection with an attack on an 83-year-old Pinellas Park man remained in juvenile detention on Thursday.
The oldest, 16-year-old Antonio Peterson, appeared in court Thursday on an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charge.
His younger brother, who is not being named because he is 13, faces a grand theft charge.
After turning himself in to authorities late Wednesday, police said he admitted to helping steal Charles Clark's car but did not participate in the attack earlier Tuesday. ...
PINELLAS PARK — Even after his wounds were bandaged, 83-year-old Charles Clark figured his attackers would come back for his car.
"I said all the time, 'They're going to steal my car,' " Clark said.
About 10 a.m. Tuesday, three teens jumped him as he returned to his Pinellas Park condo from a pharmacy. One grabbed him from behind and another slashed at his arm with a knife.
"I started hollering and I started hitting them and they kept hitting me and hitting me and hitting me," Clark said. ...
Dorothy Whipple remembers the first time she met Tasha Trotter.
Trotter was visiting her daughter, now 3. The child had been living with Whipple's family in Naples after the mother lost custody.
Mother and child were riding together in the back of a car, Whipple recalled.
The child would not stop screaming until the two of them were separated.
The incident recalls the troubled history of a woman who on Friday, authorities say, walked into her mother's St. Petersburg home and fatally stabbed her 4-year-old son, Joseph Artis IV. ...
03/29/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — By all accounts, it began as a great morning.
The beer was flowing, the funnel cakes were frying and fans were happily watching open-wheel racers jet around the track at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
"The atmosphere is awesome, so long as we don't have a tornado," David Earnsberger, 44, of Miami, said around noon, glancing up at clouds overhead. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — Tasha Trotter would sometimes wear six wigs at a time and clothes she had cut up herself that barely covered her body. Her mother and brother were used to her bizarre dress.
They were not prepared for what happened Friday evening, when police say Trotter stabbed her own 4-year-old son to death.
"I never would have thought in a trillion years that this would happen," her brother, LeRonn Trotter, 44, said Saturday....
03/28/14 Auto racing
ST. PETERSBURG — Just how loud are those open wheel racers when they're zooming around at high speeds? Practice runs began Friday at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg's track, and we took a decibel meter downtown to find out.
At the corner of First Avenue N and First Street N, noise hit about 83 decibels. That's as loud as average city traffic, according to the American Tinnitus Association. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — It has been a decade since the Grand Prix first took over downtown, bringing the roar of IndyCar and thousands of fans to the Sunshine City.
Though the event is just three days, construction of the 1.8-mile waterfront track begins more than a month ahead of time, creating a familiar headache — or boon — for downtown businesses.
"It's part of March now," said Pete Boland, manager of Courigan's Irish Pub....
PALM HARBOR — Dan Ferrans and his wife, Sue, were looking forward to what they called "the dream" — retiring within the next three years and venturing on road trips in their 38-foot Damon Challenger RV.
The Palm Harbor couple kept their RV at Florida West Covered Storage, a place equipped with security cameras, key pad entrances and tall black gates where others also sheltered the incarnations of their dreams: big boats, babied classic cars, luxurious recreational vehicles....
ST. PETERSBURG — As Kelli Brown slept early Tuesday, a car crashed into her porch. She woke to the sound of an explosion and looked outside to see a wall of fire.
"It sounded like a bomb," said Brown, 23. "Like a big bomb."
Police said Tony A. Harshbarger, 49, of Pinellas Park was traveling south and may have reached speeds of 100 mph before his car drifted to the right and hit a bus stop bench and a tree about 4:20 a.m....
After his arrest on a murder charge nearly two years ago, Cody Dials decided he needed a few jailhouse tattoos.
The 20-year-old got teardrops at the corners of his eyes and the words "out of sight, out of mind" above his eyebrows.
The ink apparently doesn't seem like such a good idea now.
He and his attorney were in court Friday to ask a judge to allow Dials to cover his tattoos during his first-degree murder trial next month. Dials is one of three men charged in the May 2012 shooting death of David Rhea, a 39-year-old commercial fisherman....
ST. PETERSBURG — A woman charged with stealing almost $400 from a Woodlawn Elementary PTA fundraiser has a criminal history spanning more than two decades.
Twanya L. McGill, 44, of St. Petersburg was arrested March 6 on a charge of grand theft after police said she took $385 intended to pay for merchandise for a school fundraiser. McGill was the PTA's vice president at the time. ...