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Curtis Krueger, Times Staff Writer

Curtis Krueger

Curtis Krueger is the Pinellas courts reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, and has written for the Times since 1987. He also covers a variety of other issues, including space and science.

Phone: (727) 893-8232


Twitter: @CKruegerTimes

  1. Pinellas property values increase as new construction doubles

    Local Government

    The official estimates of Pinellas County's overall property values have increased, as expected, by about 6.4 percent this year, a further sign of economic recovery.

    Property Appraiser Pam Dubov on Tuesday noted that the estimates indicate the value of new construction in the county has doubled to more than $622 million. "It's a very healthy sign," she said.

    Dubov had offered a preview of the numbers earlier this month....

  2. In retrial, Clearwater man once again found guilty of molesting girl


    LARGO — A Clearwater man who has been arrested multiple times on child sex charges, and often avoided prison time, has been found guilty of an offense that could put him away for life.

    A jury this week found Henry Keith Cavaliere guilty of lewd or lascivious molestation of a 7-year-old girl. It was his second conviction for the same crime. A hearing will be scheduled later for Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews to issue a sentence....

  3. Arguments set for today in 'Hiccup Girl's' appeal of murder conviction


    Lawyers on Wednesday were scheduled to conduct oral arguments in an appeal for Jennifer Mee, the woman known as the "Hiccup Girl" who was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder ( in the death of Shannon Griffin in St. Petersburg.

    The arguments will be held before a three-judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeal, meeting at the Stetson Tampa Law Center. Typically, the court's opinions are issued weeks or months afterward....

  4. In fourth trial for same murder man found guilty


    After his fourth trial on a murder charge, a jury on Friday found Dwayne M. Bailey guilty of first-degree murder in the death 30-year-old Marquell Burge in 2011 behind a St. Petersburg pool hall.

    Bailey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Prosecutors have said someone called Burge out of the Game Room, 1149 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S, St. Petersburg, and into a parking lot. And they said Bailey raised a handgun and fired into the back of Burge's head. The motive was not clear....

  5. Life sentence for Palace Mobile Home Park murderer


    LARGO — A St. Petersburg man with a lengthy prison record has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering a neighbor at the Palace Mobile Home Park.

    A jury on Thursday found Sylvester Johnson, 62, guilty of the first-degree murder of William David Casey, 75.

    Johnson had been tried for the same crime last year, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict....

  6. Life sentence in St. Petersburg home invasion


    A St. Petersburg man has been convicted of first-degree murder in connection with a 2012 home invasion.

    Christopher Roberson, 33, was found guilty late Tuesday of killing Richard Shaw, 41, at his home at 7014 Orpine Drive. Police at the time said four men stormed into the house yelling "police." Inside, they demanded money and drugs, and shot Shaw in front of his adult son.

    Roberson has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole....

    Christopher Roberson, 33, was found guilty late Tuesday of killing Richard Shaw, 41, at his home at 7014 Orpine Drive. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (2013)]
  7. Appeals court sanctions Pinellas attorney


    Pinellas criminal defense attorney Kelly McCabe received a sanction on Friday from Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal for her handling of three appeals.

    "We hope that Ms. McCabe's failure to comply with our orders reflects more on her lack of training and her limited competence as an appellate attorney and less on any intent to willfully disobey this court," the order from a three-judge panel said....

  8. Video shows police interview with father accused of throwing 5-year-old off bridge (w/video)


    "Something is not right, this is insane," John Jonchuck tells St. Petersburg police in a video-recorded interview clip released this week to the Tampa Bay Times.

    He made the comment on Jan. 8, the same day he was accused of killing his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, by dropping her off the Dick Misener Bridge and into Tampa Bay.

    The 25-year-old father seems to be referring to the way he is being treated, not to the horrifying crime he is accused of committing....

    The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office has released investigative records in the death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck. Her father John Jonchuck is accused of throwing her off the Dick Misener Bridge in the early morning hours of Jan. 8.
  9. Man found not guilty in fatal 2013 Pinellas stabbing


    A jury on Friday found 65-year-old James Ellul not guilty of murdering his neighbor in the Lealman area in 2013.

    Pinellas Sheriff's officials said at the time that Ellul got into a fight with neighbor Jerold Lester Jr., 55, at the Sunshine Mobile Home Park, 7403 46th Ave. N. They said Ellul was mad over the noise from Lester's motorcycle, and that he got into an argument with Lester and stabbed him to death....

  10. Records illuminate erratic days before Phoebe Jonchuck's death


    ST. PETERSBURG — The officer trained his pistol at the man in pajamas, the one who'd been speeding before coming to a halt and flinging open his door.

    "Get back in the car!" the officer shouted. "Get back in the car!"

    "You have no free will," the man said. He walked behind his car, holding a black book, and opened a rear door.

    "Let me see your hands!" the officer yelled....

    Phoebe Jonchuck, 5, died in the waters of Tampa Bay.
  11. Judge denies bail to man accused of causing crash that killed local chef


    LARGO — A judge denied bail on Monday for Jason Lanard Mitchell, the man police said sped away from officers in downtown St. Petersburg, blasted through stoplights and killed chef Aaron Davis.

    In the same court hearing, Davis' father, Jefferson Davis, said he forgives Mitchell, 25, but believes he should be held without bail.

    Aaron Davis, 31, had just left work at the Kitchen St. Pete about 2 a.m. April 11 and was crossing Second Street in the north crosswalk of Central Avenue. A few minutes earlier, police had attempted to stop Mitchell as he sped in a rented Dodge Charger off Interstate 375 onto Fourth Avenue N, police said....

    Jefferson Davis, father of Aaron Davis, bows his head and cries Monday during the bail hearing for Joseph Lanard Mitchell, the man accused of speeding away from St. Petersburg police and fatally hitting his son, who was walking after leaving work.
  12. Widow of Home Shopping Network co-founder seeks $170 million from Morgan Stanley


    The widow of Home Shopping Network co-founder Roy Speer is seeking more than $170 million from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, accusing the brokerage of such problems as "excessive trading" and "unjust enrichment."

    Lynnda Speer is acting as the personal representative of her late husband's estate and making several claims about the way Morgan Stanley handled an account.

    She is in arbitration proceedings against Morgan Stanley and its Palm Harbor financial advisers Ami Forte and Terry McCoy, according to an annual financial statement Morgan Stanley released in February....

  13. Clearwater lawyer Ramon Carrion wins new pro bono award


    Ramon Carrion, a longtime Clearwater immigration lawyer, has been honored by the Pinellas-Pasco Judicial Circuit for the extensive legal services he has provided over the years at no charge.

    Carrion on Friday received the Sixth Circuit Pro Bono Award, a new award created at the urging of Circuit Judge Kimberly Todd.

    In addition to providing many hours of volunteer work with individual clients, Carrion also is president of Gulfcoast Legal Services and president of the InterCultural Advocacy Institute, formerly known as the Hispanic Outreach Center, in Clearwater....

  14. Man convicted of manslaughter after rapping about crime


    A Pinellas man has been convicted of manslaughter in what authorities said was a shooting over a drug deal.

    Eddie Walker, now 27, was arrested in September 2012 and accused of using a 9 mm handgun to shoot Terrance Thomas of Largo in the head. Authorities said Walker was upset because he bought a brick of cocaine from Thomas that was too impure, or "cut."

    They said Walker even wrote rap lyrics alluding to the crime, including: "When I get dis dope an I don't make a profit, I'm a grab my 9 and I'm a go to robbing."...

  15. Stetson law prof took Gideon case to Supreme Court, but believed in the other side


    Bruce Jacob, a bright young lawyer from Florida, had landed the case of his career.

    He was 27, just three years out of law school. He had seen Washington, D.C., once in his life, driving through on the way to somewhere else. Now he was flying to the city to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    This was a big one, even by high court standards. The opposing counsel was Abe Fortas, a future Supreme Court justice. The chief justice was the legendary Earl Warren. The case would wind up in history books....

    Henry Fonda stars as Clarence Earl Gideon in Gideon’s Trumpet, the 1980 movie about the Supreme Court case.