ST. PETERSBURG — A jury convicted Albert F. Crandall of manslaughter Thursday in the death of his ailing wife after a two-day trial.
Crandall was arrested last year after he told medical personnel that he smothered his wife Judith Davis, 61, with a pillow. He also slashed his wrists, but survived with minor injuries. He left a suicide note.
After he sent an email to his sister in April 2012 hinting at suicide, police were called to the couple's apartment 661 77th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. Davis was found dead, lying in bed. Crandall was beside her, with cuts on his wrists which were not bleeding at the time....
ST. PETERSBURG -- Candidates in the St. Petersburg District 4 City Council race have been busy – with fundraisers, endorsements and a news conference.
St. Petersburg neurosurgeon David McKalip held a news conference near the Pier on Wednesday to discuss his proposal for redeveloping the St. Petersburg icon.
Instead of proceeding with the proposed replacement called the Lens, which he described as “a glorified sidewalk that no one wants,” he suggested opening the process to a private developer. A private business would build a new Pier on its own, without government financing. Options might include a hotel, an entertainment complex, sports facilities, TV studios or some other venture, he said.
The privately financed plan would then go to voters for approval.
McKalip said the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan was developed this way, to great acclaim. And even though it went over budget, it was private developers, not the city, that paid the bills, he said.
With this plan, he said, the city gets a nice new attraction and taxpayers would be off the hook. Also Wednesday, McKalip went to have a fundraiser – at the Pier.
Also this week, Darden Rice gave the City Clerk’s office more than 500 petitions signed by residents of District 4 as a way of qualifying for office. She’s the only candidate in the district who did so by Tuesday’s deadline. The other candidates must pay a qualify fee of $150.
Rice said it was important to her to gather the petitions because it shows her campaign as a solid grass-roots organization. “We wanted to walk the streets, talk to voters directly,” she said.
She also received the endorsement of the Suncoast PBA, which she called an important show of support.
“Ensuring the public's safety and working collaboratively with our city's police force is one of the Council's top responsibilities and we have to get it right,” Rice said in a news release.
Meanwhile candidate Carolyn Fries, who describes herself as a “technology entrepreneur and community leader,” has scheduled a fundraiser for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Doyle Wealth Management, 333 Third Ave. N., suite 300. Attendees are asked to RSVP to (727) 898-3063 and to make a contribution of $25 to $500.
Host committee members are: Hope Botterbusch, Robert and Jillian Doyle, Dr. John Harrison, Chris Kelly, William R. Lane Jr., Daniel James Scott....
To prove Albert F. Crandall murdered his wife, prosecutors turned on Tuesday to a compelling set of witnesses — three people who said he admitted to the killing.
"You will hear, this defendant told people that he smothered his wife with a pillow," Assistant State Attorney Kate Alexander said.
But what kind of killing was it? Crandall previously has been portrayed as a sympathetic husband who was trying to save his wife from the pain and agony of a long illness. ...
05/06/13 Public Safety
Florida is poised to make significant changes to privately operated work-release programs now that lawmakers have agreed to beef up security and limit the size of the centers.
Tucked into the state budget are three paragraphs that provide $3.8 million for electronic monitoring of inmates. In addition, the centers will be capped at a population of 200 inmates, and any facility with more than 100 inmates will be required to have at least one certified corrections officer on the premises at all times....
05/04/13 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — For years, the mandate to police officers about shooting into moving cars has been this: Don't.
And for the most part, such occurrences are rare. Yet already twice this year, police officers have done exactly that.
In both cases, authorities said the people were fleeing arrest and had first threatened the officers — who were on foot — with their vehicles....
LARGO — "Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee, who is charged with first degree murder, has offered to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, her attorney John Trevena said in court Friday.
Assistant State Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo said prosecutors would discuss the offer.
Mee became known as the "Hiccup Girl" in 2007 because of a case of hiccups that lasted months. A video of her hiccuping became an Internet sensation....
LARGO — After three hours of deliberation, jurors found a St. Petersburg man guilty of manslaughter Thursday in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend.
"I thank God they made the right decision," said Derrick Pollock, whose daughter Anastasia Boyd was 24 when she was killed.
Her mother Carolyn Boyd followed a judge's instructions to remain silent as the verdict was read, but she could not restrain herself from pumping both fists overhead. Wearing a T-shirt that commemorated her daughter's "2nd Birthday in Heaven," she later said, "Justice was served. I got justice."...
LARGO — Larry Jay Reed did something as a joke that did not turn out to be remotely funny, prosecutors said in a trial Tuesday.
Reed pulled out a loaded, chrome .32-caliber handgun and aimed it at the head of his pregnant girlfriend, Anastasia Boyd, while she was talking on the telephone, prosecutors said. She told Reed to get away.
The gun did not go off — that time. But some 20 minutes later, the gun was fired into Boyd's chest, killing her, said Assistant State Attorney Christie Ellis....
In a life-or-death gamble, a killer came to court Monday and pleaded guilty to two charges of first-degree murder — even though it might get him sentenced to death.
Khadafy Mullens, 29, has now admitted he killed a St. Petersburg convenience store owner and a customer, and also that he tried to kill another customer. The grisly 2008 shootings were captured on high-quality surveillance video at the Central Food Mart, 2157 Central Ave. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — Carolyn Fries has announced her candidacy for the District 4 City Council seat, which already has two candidates in the race.
Fries, 45, a past Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association president, will be running against civic activist Darden Rice and neurosurgeon Dr. David McKalip,
They will be seek election to the seat being vacated by councilwoman Leslie Curran, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits....
Even for a cold case, the killing of Gina Marie Justi is an old one.
More than 40 years have passed since the 14-year-old girl was abducted somewhere near her house in the Town 'N Country area of Hillsborough County. Her body was found the next day in a Palm Harbor orange grove.
She had been raped and strangled. For decades, her killer remained a mystery.
Now, a 71-year-old Illinois prison inmate has been transferred to Pinellas County to face a charge of first-degree murder in Gina's death. ...
Times Staff Writer
LARGO — A man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday for sending an interracial couple a series of letters that amounted to a "violent, vile, disgusting, racist, veiled threat," in the words of a judge.
Allan Dale Richter, 57, had already pleaded no contest to aggravated stalking and more than a dozen counts of distributing obscene material.
He came to a court hearing Friday to learn his fate. Assistant State Attorney Christopher Klemawesch displayed several of the letters Richter mailed, which contained racial slurs and curse words and urged one of his neighbors to go back to Africa....
Lawyers, legal assistants and investigators at the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender's Office routinely deal with the worst kinds of criminals — murderers, child abusers, drug traffickers.
They haven't had a raise in six years; some even take second jobs to make ends meet.
They work in a high-stress, high-stakes arena where their performance sometimes means the difference between life and the death penalty....
LARGO — A 23-year-old Clearwater man pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of a 9-month-old and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Joseph Oliver, who was looking after several toddlers in October 2011, told police he playfully tossed Aaliyah Siler in his Clearwater apartment and accidentally dropped her. But after that, police say, he got frustrated when she wouldn't stop crying. They say he snapped and took her into the bathroom, dropping her onto the tile floor. She suffered skull fractures and brain damage. After being hospitalized, she was soon taken off life support....
LARGO — Wandering through courtrooms in Pinellas County's Criminal Justice Center is like surfing the channels of justice. You can find cases of murder or shoplifting. A woman is ordered to pay a traffic ticket, a man is sentenced to death.
Even with all this variety, it's still really hard to find a felony trial in this building on 49th Street that doesn't change a single thing in anyone's life....