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Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan writes about crime, law enforcement and public safety for the Tampa Bay Times. Since joining the Times in 2010, he has covered unsolved crimes, most-wanted fugitives, gun control, and Florida's death row, among other topics. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, he is a 2006 graduate of the University of Tampa, where he earned a degree in writing with a focus in journalism.

Phone: (813) 226-3386

Email: dsullivan@tampabay.com

Twitter: @TimesDan

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  1. Hillsborough state attorney clears Tampa police officer in 18-year-old's fatal shooting

    Crime

    TAMPA — A police officer's fatal shooting of an 18-year-old in a Tampa swamp in October was justified under the law, Hills­borough State Attorney Mark Ober ruled Friday.

    No charges will be filed against Tampa police Officer Jimmy Houston in the Oct. 26 shooting that killed Kobvey Igbuhay.

    The events that led to Igbuhay's death are detailed in a letter Ober sent Friday to Tampa police Chief Eric Ward....

    Kobvey Igbuhay was killed after fleeing in a stolen SUV.
  2. Tampa officials say they're prepared for security ahead of Gasparilla

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Five miles of open streets and thousands of drunken revelers clad in pirate garb throwing plastic beads make an attractive terrorist target.

    Tampa police know this. And, like they do every year, they have built a security plan geared toward preventing any major incidents during the city's signature event.

    But despite the preparations, security experts say there is only so much that cops can do....

  3. After U.S. Supreme Court decision, old cases hint at what's next for Florida's death penalty system

    Criminal

    In the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the way Florida sentences people to death, the first glimpse of what comes next may lie in the case of a man who is weeks away from an executioner's needle.

    Right now, Cary Michael Lambrix, 55, sits inside a death watch cell in Florida State Prison, one of two inmates with active death warrants. He is set to die Feb. 11....

    Cary Michael Lambrix, 55, is set to die Feb. 11. His appeal goes to the state Supreme Court Feb. 2.
  4. Families of Tampa Bay murder victims dread new death row appeals in wake of U.S. Supreme Court decision

    Criminal

    Michele Kroeger has waited a decade for justice.

    She has endured the many appeals of the man who killed her father and stepmother in 2003. That man, William Deparvine, even tried to sue her family, claiming that the vintage Chevy pickup he killed Richard and Karla Van Dusen for was rightfully his.

    "We felt like once we have a trial, there would be closure," Kroeger said. "We shouldn't have to be going through this."...

    Tampa police Chief Jane Castor hugs Sara Kocab, left, wife of slain Officer Jeffrey Kocab, after Dontae Morris was convicted.
  5. Could U.S. Supreme Court ruling have delayed execution of serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.?

    Criminal

    What about Oscar Ray Bolin?

    As Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. sat in a holding cell steps away from the death chamber Thursday night, attorneys for the convicted serial killer awaited word on his final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among the issues raised in that last-ditch effort to save Bolin's life was the court's pending decision in Hurst vs. Florida, which called into question Florida's death penalty statute....

    Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., convicted in three murders, is scheduled to face the death penalty for one of them today in Starke.
  6. Tampa convenience store clerk shoots would-be robber armed with knife, police say

    Crime

    TAMPA — A would-be robber was shot in the head Monday afternoon, according to Tampa police, after he threatened a convenience store clerk with a knife.

    It happened about 3:30 p.m. at the Hope Food Store, which was the scene of another shooting less than a year ago.

    In Monday's incident, Anthone Bryant, 22, walked into the store, approached the clerk, Mutasem Abusafyeh, 38, and showed what police described as "a large knife."...

    Tampa police stand outside the Hope Food Store at 4002 N 22nd St. in Tampa after a store clerk shot a would-be robber in the head Monday. The man was taken to Tampa General Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
  7. Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. executed after four-hour delay for final appeal

    Public Safety

    STARKE — The long wait for justice for the families of three young women brutally murdered in the bay area in 1986 is finally over. Serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. was executed Thursday night three decades after his crimes.

    Bolin, 53, was pronounced dead at 10:16 p.m.

    Minutes before, a prison official asked Bolin if he had any last words.

    "No sir," Bolin said.

    Family members of Natalie Blanche Holley, 25; Stephanie Collins, 17; and Teri Lynn Matthews, 26; all watched on silently as their killer was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison. There were 36 witnesses. Some cried....

    Holley, 25, was stabbed multiple times Jan. 25, 1986. Bolin was sentenced to death.
  8. On eve of execution, survivor of serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. recounts her ordeal

    Criminal

    Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. brutally murdered three women in the Tampa Bay area in 1986. That much is well known.

    Tonight, he is scheduled to be executed for the murder of 26-year-old Teri Lynn Matthews. Her mother and the families of his other two victims, Natalie Blanche Holley, 25, and Stephanie Collins, 17, say they'll be there to watch him take his last breaths.

    But when Bolin dies, lingering questions will remain about what is not known: What other crimes might the notorious serial killer have committed while roaming the country as a long-haul truck driver in the 1980s?...

    End of an ordeal: Sean Collins, brother of Stephanie Collins, who was murdered by Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. in 1986, hugs their mother, Donna Witmer, during a celebration of Collins’ life Wednesday at O’Brien’s Irish Pub in Tampa.
  9. Federal appeals court rejects Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.'s request to delay Thursday's execution

    Criminal

    A federal appeals court has denied a stay of execution for Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., the Florida serial killer who is scheduled to be put to death on Thursday.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued an opinion Monday rejecting Bolin's request to delay his execution for the December 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, 26, whose body was found in Pasco County.

    A second appeal remains pending in the same court. Bolin can also appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, one of his few remaining options before his scheduled execution at 6 p.m....

  10. Long wait for justice nears end for families of serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.'s victims

    Human Interest

    For Kathleen Reeves, the pain has never gone away.

    Not after she buried her 26-year-old daughter in 1986. Not after her killer was tried and convicted the first time, and then twice more. Not after he drew three death sentences.

    And Reeves has no reason to think the pain will end Thursday, when she plans to watch Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. die.

    "It will never be over," she said last week while visiting her daughter's grave in Spring Hill....

    Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. is scheduled to be executed Thursday.
  11. Crowd breaks heavy for Tennessee before Outback Bowl

    College

    TAMPA — A blazing sun beat down as lines of orange T-shirts snaked along sidewalks and through grassy parking lots around Raymond James Stadium. Thousands lined up along fences, at the backs of pickup trucks and in the shade of tents hours before the noon kickoff for the 2016 Outback Bowl.

    This year's game pitted the Tennessee Volunteers against the Northwestern Wildcats. But if the pregame revelry was any indication, the crowd was decidedly partisan. Flags bearing the bold white letter "T" rippled atop car roofs, orange banners fluttered over American flags and orange tents stood like outposts in the shadow of Ray Jay....

    Tennessee Volunteers fans join in on a tailgate party in a parking off near Raymond James Stadium on Friday, January 1, 2015. Today is the 30th Anniversary of the Outback Bowl between the Volunteers (8-4) and the Northwestern Wildcats (10-2) in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  12. Florida serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.'s date with death finally nears

    Criminal

    The bride stood in a pink gown beside a priest in a Gainesville apartment. A 5x7 photograph of the groom sat on the kitchen counter. His voice was piped in on a speakerphone, a collect call from the Pasco County jail.

    That's how 12 million TV viewers watched serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. say "I do."

    The 1996 wedding of Bolin and Rosalie Martinez, a onetime member of his defense team who left her prominent lawyer-husband to marry a man destined for death row, was a spectacle recounted in countless news stories. ...

    Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. chats with his attorney in 1996 before a sentencing hearing in front of Judge William Webb, who pronounced a death sentence in the 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews of Land O’Lakes.
  13. Man sentenced to prison in 2013 murder of former Brandon woman

    Criminal

    A man convicted in California of the 2013 murder of his wife, formerly of Brandon, was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years to life in prison.

    Edly Atherley, 31, received the sentence after being convicted last month in the stabbing death of Ashley Atherley. The couple had previously lived in Brandon, her hometown, with their two young daughters before moving to San Bernardino, Calif.

    Ashley Atherley, 28, was found dead Dec. 1, 2013, in a San Bernardino apartment. Her husband was quickly identified as a suspect. He was a fugitive for more than a month before turning himself in to the FBI in Tampa....

    Edly Atherley
  14. Florida Supreme Court denies appeal of condemned serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin

    Criminal

    The Florida Supreme Court turned down an appeal Thursday from Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., all but ensuring that the serial killer will be executed Jan. 7.

    Bolin, 53, one of the Tampa Bay area's most notorious criminals, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection for the murder of Teri Lynn Matthews in Pasco County. She was the last three women Bolin killed in 1986.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed Bolin's death warrant in October....

    Attorneys for Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., 53, were seeking a stay of his execution by lethal injection.
  15. Tampa hookah lounge owner accused of burning down his own business

    Crime

    TAMPA — The owner of a South Tampa hookah bar that went up in flames in September was arrested Wednesday on charges that he set fire to his own business.

    Zachary King, 21, faces a charge of second-degree arson in the Sept. 17 fire at the Hookah Hut Coffee Lounge. The business was gutted and the damages estimated at $20,000.

    King turned himself in Wednesday at the Hillsborough County jail. He was released after posting $15,000 bail. A search warrant detailed the investigation that has focused on King since the day of the fire....

    Zachary King