DADE CITY — A movie theater manager described Wednesday morning how a quiet afternoon at the guest services desk during matinees in January 2014 exploded into chaos.
Thomas Peck, manager at Cobb Grove 16, was sitting behind the desk when someone came out of theater 10 alarmed, he recalled for a judge and attorneys on the third day of a "stand your ground" hearing for murder defendant Curtis Reeves....
DADE CITY — As patrons settled into their seats to watch a movie in theater No. 10 that day, they became part of the show.
A pair of surveillance cameras mounted high on opposite walls captured the clearest picture authorities now have of the fatal shooting that happened Jan. 13, 2014, at Cobb Grove 16.
The images were shown frame-by-frame, at varying speeds, to a judge in a Dade City courtroom Tuesday. They appear to depict retired Tampa police Capt. Curtis Reeves leaning forward in his seat, then shrinking back. They show another man's arm reaching out, grabbing Reeves' bag of popcorn and then tossing it at Reeves' face....
DADE CITY — Curtis Reeves sat in the middle of a darkened theater where patrons were watching previews for shoot-em-ups like Sabotage and Robocop. There was an argument about a cell phone, authorities said, then the former Tampa cop shot and killed another man.
But on Monday, in a Pasco County courtroom, a judge heard a different version of the events. In this one, Reeves was an old man in declining health who acted out of fear when another man attacked him....
TAMPA — A man accused of fatally injuring Pinky, the Busch Gardens flamingo made famous through her dancing videos, is too mentally ill to go to trial, a judge declared Friday.
Two doctors examined Joseph Corrao in recent weeks, concluding that the 45-year-old is incompetent to proceed toward trial on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty.
Neither doctor was in court Friday morning. But Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tom Barber ordered that they should both appear at a future court date to discuss their findings and treatment options to restore Corrao to competency....
If you believe Curtis Reeves, he was a scared old man who thought he was about to get beat up when Chad Oulson loomed over him in a dark Wesley Chapel theater.
If you believe Nicole Oulson, her husband was calm as the "belligerent" Reeves pestered him about turning off his cellphone before the movie Lone Survivor.
If you believe what was captured on a grainy surveillance video, Oulson's arm came toward Reeves an instant before the retired Tampa cop drew a pistol from his front pocket and fired a single shot....
TAMPA — Breaking his silence, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Steve White on Monday turned to Twitter to dispute assertions that he abused a boy who grew to be known as the Bloomingdale Library rapist.
The matter first came up in 2008 when Kendrick Morris, then 16, was arrested for a pair of brutal east Hillsborough County rapes. It resurfaced Thursday when a pair of psychologists testified that Morris told of childhood physical and emotional abuse at the hands of White and Morris' mother, Lisa Stevens....
TAMPA — For an entire morning, Kendrick Morris listened as a pair of doctors talked about how he is a man of above average intelligence, a survivor of childhood abuse, who regrets his teen crimes and is capable of living safely in society.
"I am trying to learn to like myself," he wrote in prison. "But I have to think about what I did first."
Then, in the afternoon, came the parade of tearful friends and relatives of a young woman that Morris raped outside a Bloomingdale library nine years ago....
TAMPA — The daughter of the late Helen Chavez, a Tampa restaurateur and former city council member, is suing the doctors who treated her mother just before her 2014 death, alleging they failed to adequately diagnose a life-threatening heart condition.
Denise Chavez filed the lawsuit last week in Hillsborough Circuit Court. It alleges that Dr. Christine Torres and Kimberly Gore, a physician assistant, were negligent in their assessment and treatment of a skin condition Helen Chavez exhibited shortly before her death....
TAMPA — Once condemned to life in prison, 39-year-old Floyd LaFountain walked out of a Hillsborough County jail on Friday, tasting freedom for the first time in 22 years.
"I want to drink a milk shake and just maybe go to the beach," he said when asked about his plans.
LaFountain had been locked up since age 16 for his role in a robbery in which a cohort pulled a gun and shot a man....
TAMPA — Until this week, Floyd LaFountain, 39, was condemned to spend the rest of his life in prison for a crime he committed at age 16.
But on Wednesday, a judge decided he had been locked up long enough.
Sometime in the next few days, LaFountain will go free.
He was resentenced to 22 years in prison, time he has already served, for his role in a 1994 robbery in which someone else pulled a gun and killed 73-year-old Manuel Huerta of Tampa....
TAMPA — Today, a man with a buzz cut and a few wrinkles in his forehead will stand in orange scrubs before a Hillsborough judge.
He will hear lawyers explain that he's not the same mop-topped teenager he was 23 years ago, when he and two buddies, stinking of booze, burst into a home to rob its owner and left the man dead.
Floyd LaFountain didn't pull the trigger that day, but he is serving the same sentence as the teen who did: life. ...
TAMPA — The presiding judge in courtroom 510 in the George Edgecomb Courthouse retired eight years ago.
Yet on a recent Wednesday morning, the Honorable Sandra Taylor — a black robe draping her shoulders — was busy working her $350-a-day part-time job.
Unlike most of the other judges in the 13th Judicial Circuit, Taylor was never elected to the bench in Hillsborough County, nor was she appointed by the governor. In fact, she doesn't even live here....
TAMPA — A retired Tampa police officer faces federal charges over a check reported missing from an evidence room, and he isn't the first in his family to be accused.
Thomas A. Hevel was charged last week with theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, stemming from the disappearance of a U.S. Treasury tax refund check for $4,550.
The same check was one of more than 13 tax refund checks that Hevel's wife, Jeannette, a former Tampa police corporal, admitted to stealing from an evidence room last year when she pleaded guilty to federal charges....
TAMPA — With less than three weeks before the November election, fliers have landed in Hillsborough County mailboxes attacking the record of incumbent State Attorney Mark Ober on sex crime prosecutions.
The mailers, sent by the state Democratic Party in support of challenger Andrew Warren, depict local residents voicing disgust over Ober's handling of two cases. The ads accuse him of letting rapists go free....
TAMPA — The names of those who signed the letter read like a who's who of the local religious community, with Catholics, Jews and various Protestant denominations represented.
There was James Favorite, the pastor of Beulah Baptist International Church. There was Betsy Torop of Congregation Beth Shalom in Brandon. There was Bishop Robert Lynch of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg....