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Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan covers breaking news and general assignment stories for the Tampa Bay Times. His reporting often focuses on law enforcement and criminal justice issues. Since joining the Times in 2010, he has covered everything from fugitive monkeys and stolen swine to burning buildings and Florida's death row. 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. After 12 years investigating death, Tampa homicide sergeant struggles to let go

    Crime

    TAMPA — As his time winds down, the city's longest-serving homicide investigator can't shake the feeling that his work is unfinished. And after more than a decade hunting killers, Chuck Massucci wonders how he can adjust to a life when he is no longer on call.

    Massucci, 55, is set to retire this week after spending the last 12 years with the Tampa Police Department's homicide unit — the last two as its commanding sergeant....

  2. Possibility of new plea deal raised in case of Ruskin gyrocopter pilot

    Courts

    The Ruskin mail carrier who flew a gyrocopter onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to protest campaign finance reform has added a new lawyer to his defense team.

    In a routine hearing Thursday morning, a federal judge permitted Doug Hughes to retain Mark Goldstone, an attorney specializing in First Amendment issues. Goldstone will represent Hughes alongside a federal public defender, Tony Miles. ...

  3. Hillsborough deputies: FSU student says 'screaming voices' led to murders of mother, stepfather

    Crime

    TAMPA — Her stepfather lay dead under a blanket behind a locked bedroom door. Looming in an open window in her family's Carrollwood home, the 21-year-old college student waited through the night for her mother to come home.

    She was alone. She had a gun.

    Nicole Nacht­man would later tell people she had second thoughts when Myriam Dienes finally arrived after 9 p.m. Thursday, detectives said. She decided to slip out a bedroom window. But her mother spotted her....

    Nicole Nachtman faces two counts of murder.
  4. Trial begins in deaths of Avila couple

    Criminal

    TAMPA — The operator could hardly understand the man on the other end of the 911 call. But through breathless shouts, a few words of broken English were clear.

    "They killed my boss," he said. "I was working ... They catch me. They tie me."

    The call came from inside the sprawling mansion of Dr. Hector Rivera and his wife, Debra, in Tampa's exclusive Avila community. When Hillsborough sheriff's deputies arrived that night, Jan. 9, 2012, they found the couple shot to death....

    Julian Ospina-Florez awaits opening arguments Friday in his double-murder trial in Hillsborough County.
  5. Fatal crash that followed attempted police stop to cost Tampa taxpayers $125,000

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The death of Antonio Lang in a crash with a man charged with fleeing police at more than 80 mph and blowing through a red light will cost Tampa taxpayers $125,000.

    That's because although Delvin D. Williams is charged in the fatal wreck, Lang's widow blamed someone else.

    Taina Serrano Lang filed a negligence and wrongful death claim over the actions of Tampa officers in the moments before the crash the night of Feb. 19, 2014....

  6. Hillsborough deputy received commendation days before Thonotosassa shooting

    Crime

    A Hillsborough sheriff's deputy who was injured in a shooting Thursday received a commendation days earlier for his handling of a possible kidnapping, personnel records show.

    Last Saturday, a man was seen forcing a young woman into a car. Hillsborough Deputy Scott Ranney and other officers worked to locate the woman and learned that the incident was actually a "nonviolent domestic dispute."...

    Deputy Scott Ranney, 43, was treated and released from the hospital after Thursday’s shooting.
  7. Hillsborough deputy shot, released from hospital; shooter still at large

    Crime

    THONOTOSASSA — Minutes after midnight on a darkened rural street, three Hills­borough sheriff's deputies walked the pavement. They saw a man standing in front of a set of duplexes. When the deputies walked toward him, gunfire erupted.

    One of the three, Deputy Scott Ranney, fell as a bullet pierced his leg. The deputies all fired back as the man ran between houses and disappeared....

    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office crime scene technicians use metal detectors to look for evidence Thursday morning after a deputy was shot in the leg near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Fowler Avenue in Thonotosassa. [Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office] 
  8. 'Necessity defense' in Doug Hughes' gyrocopter case a long shot, experts say

    Criminal

    Doug Hughes wants to tell a jury that he had no choice. He wants to argue that he had to fly a gyrocopter to the U.S. Capitol to deliver 535 letters about campaign finance reform to 535 members of Congress. It was, he wants to say, a necessity.

    In his forthcoming trial for the April stunt that thrust him into a national spotlight — and landed him six federal charges and a potential 9½-year prison sentence — Hughes wants to use a defense that, to some legal observers, seems just as outlandish as the act itself....

    Doug Hughes faces charges for flying his gyrocopter to the Capitol.
  9. Congressional committee criticizes law enforcement response to Ruskin man's gyrocopter flight

    Courts

    Doug Hughes has moved Congress. But not about campaign finance reform.

    A congressional committee released a report Wednesday criticizing the law enforcement response to the Ruskin mailman's gyrocopter flight onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

    The April 15 stunt, which Hughes made to draw attention to the issue of big money in politics, was the subject of congressional hearings on capital security in the weeks that followed....

    Doug Hughes flies his gyrocopter in March near Wauchula Municipal Airport.
  10. Plant City toddler hospitalized after being trapped in dog's mouth

    Public Safety

    PLANT CITY — A toddler was seriously injured when he was attacked and mauled by a dog Tuesday morning along the Hillsborough-Polk county line.

    It happened about 8 a.m. outside H.D. Budd Farms, a cannery at 3701 E Trapnell Road, just 6 miles south of Plant City. Hillsborough sheriff's Detective Jeffrey Harris was visiting the business to warn the owner, Teresa Budd, about car burglaries in the area, according to the Sheriff's Office....

    A 50-pound boxer was seen carrying a toddler by the leg Tuesday. Michael Diaz, nearly 2, was taken to a hospital,  reportedly in serious condition.
  11. Autopsy shows man run over by Tampa officer was drunk

    Accidents

    TAMPA — William Dale McIntire was extremely drunk in late June when he had his head crushed by a sport utility vehicle driven by a Tampa police officer, according to an autopsy and toxicology report.

    The report, released Friday, shows that when McIntire died he had a blood alcohol content of 0.30. That is more than 31/2 times the limit at which the state presumes a person to be intoxicated....

    William Dale McIntire, 60, was reportedly lying in the road when he was killed June 28.
  12. Man charged in transgender woman's slaying a person of interest in second Tampa homicide

    Crime

    TAMPA — The man accused in last week's shooting death of a transgender woman also is a "person of interest'' in a second slaying that happened Sunday, according to Tampa police.

    Keith Lamayne Gaillard, 18, is being held in the Hillsborough County jail on a first-degree murder charge in the death of India Clarke, whose body was found July 21.

    Gaillard also is being looked at in the homicide investigation of Tyrone Sean Davis, who was found dead Sunday in Temple Crest Park. Davis' family said they believe he was gay....

    Keith Lamayne Gaillard, 18, is charged with murder in the death of India Clarke.
  13. Jury recommends third death sentence for Tampa cop-killer Dontae Morris

    Crime

    TAMPA — The jury that found Dontae Morris guilty of killing Derek Anderson decided Thursday that his murderer should be sent to a very familiar place: Florida's death row.

    The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a sentence of death in Anderson's slaying. It is the third time a jury has chosen death for Morris, one of Tampa Bay's most infamous cop killers.

    Morris, 29, already is on death row for the murders of two Tampa police officers, is serving a life sentence for a fourth murder and awaits trial for a fifth murder....

    Derek Anderson was found shot in the back May 18, 2010.
  14. Jury: Dontae Morris is guilty of fourth murder

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Dontae Morris faced his third jury in as many years on Wednesday, and they rendered the same verdict as the first two: he was found guilty of first-degree murder, this time for the fatal shooting of Derek Anderson in May 2010.

    Anderson died 42 days before Morris shot and killed Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, the crime that made him one of the area's most infamous killers. In all, Morris has been convicted in four of the five murders he is accused of in 2010....

    Dontae Morris enters the courtroom of Judge William Fuente. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  15. Accused of fourth murder, Dontae Morris' fate now in hands of jury

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A jury went to work Monday to decide whether or not Dontae Morris is guilty of a fourth murder.

    More than five years after Morris committed one of Tampa Bay's most notorious crimes — killing two Tampa police officers — the panel of 12 men and woman started deliberating whether he also killed Derek Anderson, who was fatally shot on May 18, 2010.

    If the jury find Morris guilty of first-degree murder, the court will then start the sentencing phase of the trial. That could net Morris, 29, his third death sentence....

    Dontae Morris enters the courtroom of Judge William Fuente. The third murder trial of convicted cop killer Dontae Morris started Friday. Morris is accused of killing Derek Anderson, who died a few weeks before the two Tampa police officers. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]