Gary Alvord, the Florida prison inmate who lived on death row longer than anyone else in America, has died of natural causes.
The 66-year-old murderer died Sunday at Union Correctional Institution, nearly 40 years after he strangled to death three women in Tampa.
Ultimately it was a brain tumor, not the electric chair or a lethal injection needle, that claimed Alvord's life, his attorneys said. In recent years, he had also battled lung cancer....
05/18/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — It was a going-away party of sorts, a Saturday evening social to say goodbye. Most of the guests were locals, some were natives.
With a cool sea breeze tempering the heat as the sun fell to the horizon, hundreds strolled about the top of the St. Petersburg Pier with drinks in hand, waiting to bid goodbye to a local landmark.
The mood was neither somber, nor totally joyous. The purpose was not political, though chatter about the Pier's future was inevitable here, a mere two weeks away from the day of its scheduled closing....
Police are investigating two separate robberies of pizza delivery drivers that have happened in the last two weeks in the same Tarpon Springs neighborhood.
The first robbery happened about 10:30 p.m. May 10 after a Pizza Hut driver was sent to an abandoned house at 719 S Disston Ave., police said. When he arrived at the house, the driver knocked on the front door. Two men then walked up to him, brandishing a rifle and a handgun, and demanded his money. They wore dark-colored shirts over their faces, leaving only their eyes exposed, police said....
05/17/13 Local Government
With the sun's last rays casting an orange light over the Pier Friday evening, Sancia Nixon strolled along the sidewalks with her 10-year-old nephew, Jair Nixon.
Jair used a disposable camera to take snapshots of the soon-to-be-demolished inverted pyramid, documenting what his aunt called a piece of local history.
"I wanted him to see it before it's gone," she said. "It's history for him when he grows up. We made sure that today we had to come."...
05/16/13 Human Interest
Alayna Adams was living a dream as she prepared to throw out the first pitch Thursday night before thousands of Tampa Bay Rays fans at Tropicana Field.
Her father, a lieutenant colonel stationed in Afghanistan for most of the past two years, appeared on the stadium video screen. He said hello and told his daughter he would see her soon.
The 9-year-old Dunedin girl launched the ball and watched it bounce across the turf toward home plate....
CLEARWATER — Firefighters battled a blaze at Westfield Countryside mall early Wednesday after a driver crashed into the building in a suicide attempt, authorities said.
The fire was reported about 2 a.m. after a white Honda Accord slammed into the east side of the building at the Dillard's store in the mall on U.S. 19.
Dozens of firefighters responded to the scene and found the car inside the building. By 4 a.m. Wednesday, the fire was extinguished. Later in the morning, the rest of the mall opened....
The Anclote River turned into a lake of fire late Tuesday night after a stubborn blaze aboard a shrimp boat spread into the fuel-covered water, dashed about 50 yards to the other shore and ignited a dock.
Crews that had been battling the boat fire summoned dozens of other engines from across the region to help ensure that other boats and structures on the Sponge Docks didn't catch fire....
A man accused in an October arson at his Gulfport hardware store is back in jail after deputies found him with several medications for which he did not have a prescription, authorities said.
David Matthew Cretella was arrested Friday afternoon near Duhme Road and Tom Stuart Causeway in Seminole. When Pinellas County sheriff's deputies talked to him, he was carrying a plastic bag with pills, including hydrocodone, methadone, and diazepam, according to an arrest report....
ST. PETERSBURG — Ex-fugitive and accused killer Jamaal Jenkins has returned to Pinellas County.
Jenkins, 25, was extradited Thursday from Louisiana, where he was captured earlier this year after a high-profile monthlong manhunt.
He faces murder charges in connection with the January slayings of his former girlfriend, Destynee Nekole Burkes, 24, and another man she was seeing, Tieyannie Dewitte Hollis, 31....
05/08/13 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer who shot a woman to death after she pointed a gun at him last month was cleared of wrongdoing Wednesday after a state attorney's investigation.
Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe declared the April 28 death of Pamela Dale Kirk to be "justifiable homicide" in a letter sent to St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon.
Officer Christopher Dolch fired three times at Kirk after she pointed a .38 Smith & Wesson at him through a window at her home at 2630 13th Ave. N, authorities said. Dolch was one of three officers who responded to a welfare check at the home after one of Kirk's neighbors reported she was acting strangely....
ST. PETERSBURG — For half a century, Gerry Ramsberger devoted his life to the youth of St. Petersburg.
He coached them in baseball, taught them in political science and mentored them.
"He commanded such respect," said his daughter, Katie. "In the profession that he chose, so many kids paid him accolades."
Mr. Ramsberger died Monday at the St. Petersburg home where he had lived for nearly 50 years. He was 88....
SEMINOLE — About three years ago, Charles Emmerson needed a bookkeeper and front desk manager for the local office of his company, SeatsAndChairs.com. Among the dozen or so people who applied for the job, Kristina Melvin stood out.
She was smart, professional and could deal with customers, negotiate with vendors and make sure everybody got their money.
The company didn't do a background check before hiring her. Now Emmerson wishes it had....
ST. PETERSBURG — A man was found dead inside a house that caught fire Wednesday evening at 1030 13th St. N.
Firefighters were called to the single-story bungalow-style house about 6:20 p.m. after several neighbors called 911 to report that the home was on fire. When fire crews arrived, they found a man, who appeared to be suffering from smoke inhalation, collapsed in the bushes in the front yard, said St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Joel Granata. The man was taken to Bayfront Medical Center....
ST. PETERSBURG — A man accused of killing a 21-year-old woman last month tried to hide in a baby's crib Tuesday when authorities came to arrest him, police said. A police dog found Morris Vernell Hires III in the crib and bit him on the arm before officers and members of the U.S. Marshals Service took him into custody.
Hires, 18, was arrested at his home at 535 26th Ave. S, the same address where Felicia Celeste Vickers was shot March 15....
04/27/13 Public Safety
A Pasco County couple who went missing while driving to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport on Friday to pick up their son were found safe Saturday night in Jacksonville.
Marvin and Joan Stump left their Zephyrhills home about 8 p.m. Friday to drive to the airport in Clearwater, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. But they never arrived, nor did they return home.
At 11:30 p.m. Friday, St. Petersburg police spotted the couple's silver Lincoln Town Car in the area of Fifth Avenue N and Beach Drive, authorities said. Officers stopped the car and talked with the couple, who asked for directions to the airport. Afterward, the car headed south....