ST. PETERSBURG — The prosecutor explained the murder case like a set of tumbling dominoes.
It began, Fred Schaub told the jurors, with the rape of a 78-year-old woman six years ago. The attack was so violent it broke her hip and pelvis. The breaks sent her to the hospital. In the hospital, she contracted a vicious infection. The infection killed her.
Virgil DeBose, Schaub said, was the rapist — which also makes him the killer....
05/18/13 Human Interest
Justyn Ambrozia, the 90-year-old Trinity man who survived for two days in a car after breaking his hip and wrist, died Thursday due to complications from the trauma.
"His heart gave out," said his son, Justin. "They couldn't revive him."
On April 30, Ambrozia drove from his Pasco County home to a nearby Publix. He was walking around a corner in the store when he slipped and grabbed a shelf that gave way. The fall broke his wrist and hip....
ST. PETERSBURG — Acropolis Greek Taverna was shut down for several hours midday Friday after a state inspection found a raft of violations at the restaurant, including live and dead roaches.
It's the second time in the past five weeks that a popular downtown restaurant has been shut down by health violations that include roaches. Just last month, Ceviche on Beach Drive was shuttered for 24 hours after inspectors found a number of health problems. ...
05/12/13 Public Safety
If he could speak to Jeffrey Walker, he would tell him there is no right way to suffer. He would tell him to make something good of a mistake that caused so much bad. He would tell him that one day, probably a long time from now, he must forgive himself.
Last week, Walker's nephew, who was 3, accidentally shot and killed himself with a 9mm handgun. The boy had found it, loaded, in his uncle's backpack inside an apartment near Tampa, investigators said. ...
DADE CITY — Adan David Diaz Jr. had told people what he would do if his sister's boyfriend came to their house again.
On Friday night, authorities say, the boyfriend came and Diaz kept his word.
Juan Quesada-Acuna, 32, was sitting with his girlfriend inside a 2012 white Nissan Altima, parked in the dirt driveway at 40214 River Road. He was on the passenger side.
Diaz saw him. The 17-year-old boy, according to investigators, went to his father's Ford F-150 pickup, took out a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and loaded the magazine. He chambered a round and walked to the car. ...
On Page 256 of the state budget, between references to Medicaid services and transportation consultants, is a short paragraph describing "The Coast-to-Coast Connector."
The connector is a planned bike trail that would run across Central Florida, linking St. Petersburg to Titusville. The state would build 72 miles of new trail to connect to 200 miles that will already exist.
The price tag: $50 million....
04/27/13 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council will consider Thursday a request from the police department to spend nearly $450,000 on new equipment from a forfeiture fund.
Police officials intend to spend most of the money on cameras, surveillance devices, body armor, computer software, workout machines and other equipment.
"This is money taken from bad guys," said Mayor Bill Foster....
Brett Bainter had just missed a patch of grass in the back yard of his Orlando home, so he shifted his riding mower in reverse. As he backed up, he felt a bump.
Bainter looked over the side and, on that April day in 2004, he saw the image that has since defined his life: the bright blue eyes of his boy looking up at him.
His only child, Jake, was 3 at the time. Blades whirling at 200 mph mangled his right leg so badly that, years later, it would have to be amputated....
PALM HARBOR — The little girl with light brown hair looked up at the deputy and asked him where her legs had gone.
Moments before on Wednesday evening, her father was pulling his red Wizard riding lawn mower into the garage when he looked up and saw his wife, screaming and motioning for him to stop.
He backed up, unaware that his daughter, who is 2, had fallen behind him. The mower ran over her. The blades severed her hand and both of her legs beneath the knees....
Authorities announced Monday night that they were told that Joshua Hakken — on the lam aboard a sailboat since Wednesday — had arrived in Cuba with his wife and two young sons.
El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language newspaper affiliated with the Miami Herald, reported Monday night it had confirmed the Hakken family was in Cuba. There, the newspaper reported, the Hakkens were in the custody of Cuban immigration officials and were being attended to by U.S. consular officials....
ST. PETERSBURG — Less than a block from City Hall is a place people call Spice City.
With a decision the City Council made Thursday morning, that place — Williams Park — may not have that name much longer.
Council members unanimously voted to ban synthetic marijuana, a drug commonly referred to as spice and smoked in abundance at the downtown park. By next week, shop owners will no longer be able to carry it and people will be prohibited from possessing or selling it to each other....
04/03/13 Human Interest
TAMPA — The alarm blared just after 6 that morning, but Jean Azor was already up. He showered, then rushed into his closet. He pulled on a pair of black slacks and a beige polo, his uniform at St. Joseph's Hospital. Behind his bed table, a newsletter was pinned to the wall. A photo on it showed him crouching next to a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. Jean glanced at it and smiled, as if he had a secret. "I know he's coming," Jean said in a thick Haitian accent....
03/23/13 Human Interest
FORT MYERS — J.J. King inched to the edge of his plastic computer chair. He bounced his knee and gnawed his thumbnail.
He and four friends, stuffed into a dorm room just big enough to fit a compact car, crowded around an 18-inch TV screen. Florida Gulf Coast University, a 15-seed in the NCAA tournament, was minutes away from the grossly improbable: beating national powerhouse and second-seeded Georgetown University....
ST. PETERSBURG — Despite sharp objections that the skies above Pinellas County will be made more dangerous, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that it will move forward with its plan to shut down the air traffic control tower at the city's downtown airport.
Albert Whitted Airport — which will not be a "controlled" airport for the first time since the 1960s — is one of 149 facilities that will be closed at small airports around the country starting early next month. The FAA is being forced to trim $637 million from its budget this fiscal year as part of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, which went into effect March 1....
About 5 p.m. Friday, the fish stopped biting 30 miles off Anna Maria Island. Joe Maisano looked at the water and saw a large, gray figure circling below his boat. So, the 26-year-old charter boat captain grabbed an 8-pound chunk of bonito and tossed it overboard.
"My first thought was: 'That looks like a great white shark," ' Maisano said. "That's one of those things that's kind of hard to believe. It's kind of like seeing a unicorn."...