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

Email: ckrueger@tampabay.com

Twitter: @CKruegerTimes

  1. Libertarian Lucas Overby will not seek District 13 seat in the fall

    Elections

    Lucas Overby, a Libertarian who won nearly 5-percent of the vote in last month's special congressional election in Pinellas County, said he has decided not to run for the seat in the regularly scheduled election this fall.

    Republican David Jolly won last month's election with 48.4 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Alex Sink, who received 46.5 percent. The special election was held in Congressional District 13 after the death of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. ...

  2. Sykes in, Overby out in Pinellas congressional race

    Blog

    The Rev. Manuel Sykes, of St. Petersburg's Bethel Community Baptist Church, has said he will run as a Democrat in Pinellas County's Congressional District 13. Read the story here.

    And in other news, Lucas Overby, a Libertarian who won nearly 5-percent of the vote in last month’s special congressional election for the same seat, said he has decided not to run again this fall. Here is Overby's prepared statement:...

  3. Democrat Sykes to run for Pinellas congressional seat

    Elections

    The Rev. Manuel Sykes, of St. Petersburg's Bethel Community Baptist Church, said he plans to run for Congress.

    "My concern has been about serving people, and I think that's what's needed in Congress," he said Monday.

    Sykes, a Democrat, intends to run in Pinellas County's District 13, which stretches from south Pinellas to Dunedin, with portions of southern and downtown St. Petersburg cut out....

    The Rev. Manuel Sykes, a Democrat, plans to enter Pinellas’ District 13 race.
  4. Two defendants sentenced to prison for Shefights.net fetish beating videos

    Criminal

    LARGO — A judge gave prison sentences on Monday to two people behind an internet fetish video that showed a mentally disabled man being kicked and beaten.

    Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Keith Meyer sentenced Shefights.net producer and entrepreneur Jeffery Williams, 61, to seven years in prison. He gave performer Zuzu Vargo, 27, roughly three years in prison, plus three years' probation....

    Vargo can been seen punching a homeless, disabled man in a Shefights.net video shown in court Monday.
  5. Some murderers choose life in prison to avoid death penalty

    Criminal

    In the murder case against William S. Coffin III, a grim life-or-death negotiation came to the surface last week.

    Coffin, 32, is considering pleading guilty to fatally stabbing a Largo woman and spending the rest of his life in prison, a prosecutor said in a court hearing. Coffin wants something in return: no death penalty.

    This might sound like the ultimate choice between bad alternatives, but it's not as rare as it may sound....

    Anthony J. Giancola, a former Tampa school principal, was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences in 2013, for the murders of Mary Anne Allis, 59, and Justin Lee Vandenburgh and four counts of attempted murder.
  6. Man pleads guilty to leaving scene of accident that killed tandem bicyclists

    Criminal

    Christopher Weed pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to leaving the scene of a Clearwater accident in which he struck and killed a couple on a tandem bicycle.

    Weed, 30, is scheduled to be formally sentenced next month to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.

    Robert Lemon, 25, and Hilary Michalak, 27, of Largo were riding their bike in September on Memorial Causeway when a vehicle struck them. The impact splintered the bike and threw the couple feet apart. They were wearing helmets but died of their injuries....

    Defendant Christopher Weed, 30, center, plead guilty, Tuesday, April 16, 2014, at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center. On the right is Assistant Public Defender Adam Pylitt.
  7. Man pleads guilty in BB gun shooting at St. Pete Pride

    Criminal

    ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg man has pleaded guilty to battery for shooting someone with a BB gun at the St. Pete Pride Parade.

    Cornelius Davis, 21, shot Eric Bunzow with the BB gun during the June 2013 event, after shouting anti-gay slurs, St. Petersburg police said at the time. Bunzow was not seriously injured.

    Davis will be formally sentenced April 30, but Bunzow said in an interview that his understanding is Davis will get a six-month jail term along with his felony conviction....

  8. Alex Sink will not run for Congress again this year

    Blog

    Democrat Alex Sink has decided not to run for Congress again this year, meaning there will not be a rematch of the nationally watched and extraordinarily costly campaign that Sink lost in Pinellas County a little over a month ago by less than 2 percentage points.

    “I am so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign received, but after reflection with my family I have made a personal decision not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in the 2014 election,” Sink said in a statement. “I want to thank every voter, volunteer and  donor for their support – we can all be proud of the strong campaign we ran. I look forward to finding new, rewarding avenues where I can continue to effectively serve the people of Florida. In the words of Bill, I look forward to continuing to do good. I remain totally convinced that a Democrat can and will win this congressional seat in the fall, and I look forward to helping the Democratic nominee.”...

    Democrat Alex Sink, with daughter Lexi Crawford after delivering a concession speech March 11, says she will not run for Congress again in November.
  9. Alex Sink won't challenge David Jolly for District 13 seat in November

    National

    Democrat Alex Sink has decided not to run for Congress this fall, a move that could benefit newly elected Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly.

    Sink told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that she made a "very personal" choice against running after weighing several factors.

    "I was certainly all in for the special election and at this point in time I just made the decision that I did not want to run again."...

  10. Rev. Manuel Sykes considers congressional run

    Blog

       The Rev. Manuel Sykes, of St. Petersburg's Bethel Community Baptist Church, said he's considering running for Congress in Pinellas County's District 13.

       That's the district in which Republican David Jolly won election March 11, narrowly defeating Democrat Alex Sink, in a special election following the death of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young....

  11. Two sure things for Tuesday: a lunar eclipse and taxes

    Space

    A couple of hours after midnight tonight — you know, right about the time you're starting your taxes — walk outside and look up.

    The view will take your mind off W-2 forms, itemized deductions and general frustration over money owed the government.

    Clouds are predicted to be hovering over the Tampa Bay area, so you might have to find a seam or hole, but you'll be gazing at a sight that has captivated humans for the ages: a total lunar eclipse. ...

    During a total eclipse in 2004, the full moon passes through the Earth’s shadow and appears red as seen from downtown St. Petersburg.
  12. David Jolly votes against GOP House budget to keep promise

    Blog

    Pinellas County's newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly summed up the reason he voted against the GOP's Ryan budget proposal today, becoming one of just 12 Republicans to do so:

    "I simply kept my word," he said in an interview. And, referring to the number of phone calls he has gotten from media afterward, he quipped: "It's remarkable how newsworthy it is when a member of Congress keeps their promise.".......

  13. Jolly votes against GOP budget: 'I simply kept my word.'

    Elections

    In his first high-profile vote in the U.S. House, Pinellas County's newly elected congressman David Jolly voted against the GOP's Ryan budget proposal on Thursday, becoming one of just 12 Republicans to do so.

    "I simply kept my word," Jolly said. And, referring to the number of phone calls he got from media afterward, he quipped: "It's remarkable how newsworthy it is when a member of Congress keeps their promise."...

    U.S. Rep. David Jolly says that he kept his word and explained his position to Republican leaders.
  14. That's two very fit judges

    Blog

    Two judges from the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit are about to embark on some endurance sports.

    Judge Cynthia Newton, who handles felony criminal trials, is scheduled to compete Sunday in a "half Ironman" competition in Haines City and Lake Eva. That's a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bicycle ride and a 13.1-mile run. She also is planning to participate in a full Ironman -- double those distances -- this summer in Idaho....

  15. Pinellas man to get seven years for stealing hundreds of thousands from condo groups

    Criminal

    LARGO — A Seminole man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a financial company where he worked. He is scheduled to be sentenced to seven years in prison.

    Roberto Martin Velez, 46, was the chief financial officer of Total Realty Services, a Madeira Beach company that manages funds for several local condominium associations. At the time of his arrest, the Pinellas Sheriff's Office said he transferred more than $500,000 into accounts he had access to, and wrote checks and made electronic transfers to himself....