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Jon Silman, Times Staff Writer

Jon Silman

Jon Silman covers crime and courts in West Pasco County.

He was born in California, grew up overseas, and graduated from the University of Florida. Before he joined the Times in 2013, he was the cops reporter for the Gainesville Sun.

Phone: (727) 869-6229

E-mail: jsilman@tampabay.com

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  1. Longtime Pasco judge Stanley Mills reflects before retirement

    Courts

    NEW PORT RICHEY — It passes quickly. Too quickly, if you ask Circuit Judge Stanley Mills.

    "It's been real fast," the judge said. "Just like lightning."

    Mills, 67, will retire in December. In 1989, if you'd have asked him if there was an end in sight, he would have laughed. The future was endless, boundless. Now? It's "terrifyingly close."

    Time goes by so quickly.

    So here he sits. A headlights-on-billboard-type smile, short Santa Claus-shaded white hair to match a dress shirt and the American Constitution on his tie. He's direct — smooth and measured....

    Circuit Judge Stanley Mills, 67, will retire at the end of the year. “It’s been real fast,” he said.
  2. Jail inmates lend a hand at Pasco County animal shelter (w/video)

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES

    The inmates who clean the cages at the animal shelter wear black galoshes, for obvious reasons. They don't work up front, in the cozy reception area. They show up early, herded by a man with a gun, and get to work behind a door that reads "Don't enter."

    They show up in striped cotton jailhouse uniforms. Many have tattoos. Mostly they are nonviolent offenders and low-level felons. ...

    Randy Niven gets his face licked Tuesday by a pit bull while working with the dogs at Pasco County Animal Services. The agency has an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office that allows inmates from the jail who qualify to work at the facility.
  3. Curtis Reeves' defense team allowed to visit theater

    Criminal

    DADE CITY — A judge will allow Curtis Reeves' defense team to visit the Wesley Chapel movie theater where he is accused of shooting and killing a man in January.

    On Wednesday morning, attorneys for Reeves, 72, asked Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa for access to the Cobb Grove 16 Theatres to take photos, videos and measurements.

    Assistant State Attorney Bill Loughery raised objections about what the defense team might do once they were in the theater — namely, a re-enactment of events that could influence potential jurors. He asked if a representative from his office could be present. Siracusa denied that request. ...

    Curtis Reeves, 72, is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 13 shooting of 43-year-old Chad Oulson. The men were at a matinee showing of Lone Survivor with their wives when they argued over Oulson texting his young daughter’s babysitter during previews.
  4. Couple's water bill in new Pasco home tops $3,000

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Eugene Foy and Louise Gritmon, a couple from New York, bought a house on Saltamonte Drive a few months ago. They wanted to move closer to family and start a new chapter in their lives.

    Part of the welcome they got from Pasco County: a bill stating they had used 600,000 gallons of water at a cost of $3,258.56.

    "That's enough to fill 60 swimming pools," Gritmon, an accountant, said. "We obviously knew this was wrong."...

    Louise Gritmon of New Port Richey holds the $3,258.56 bill Wednesday. “We obviously knew this was wrong,” she said.
  5. Dive team finds guns near site of Hudson quadruple murder

    Criminal

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Investigators found numerous rifles, crossbows and knives in a creek behind the Hudson house where they say Adam Matos murdered four people.

    The items are listed in a newly released search warrant that details evidence found in and around the Hatteras Drive house where Matos, a recent transplant from Pennsylvania, was living with his girlfriend, their 4-year-old son and her parents. Authorities say he killed Megan Brown; her parents, Margaret and Gregory Brown; and a local man named Nick Leonard, whom Megan had recently begun dating. Matos faces four counts of first-degree murder....

    Adam Matos, 28, in jail since Sept. 5, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
  6. Girl, 14, accused of arson is released, charged as a juvenile

    Criminal

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A 14-year-old girl accused of setting fire to her house while her mother and brother slept inside was released from juvenile detention on Thursday.

    The girl was held for 21 days, according to Pasco-Pinellas Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis, and now her mother wants her home.

    She was charged as a juvenile with two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson. Next, her case will work its way through the juvenile justice system....

    The fire was lit in the garage as the girl’s mother and brother slept Sept. 4 at the Hermitage Lane home, authorities say.
  7. Hudson murder suspect Adam Matos appears in court; judge says he'll remain jailed

    Criminal

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Adam Matos, charged with the murders of four people in Hudson, made his first appearance in court Tuesday via video conference.

    Pasco County Judge Paul Firmani addressed Matos and asked him whether he needed a lawyer appointed.

    "Should I appoint a public defender?" he asked Matos, using a video screen.

    Matos, in a red jail suit, stood quietly and answered evenly, "Public defender."...

    Adam Matos, 28, makes his first Pasco County court appearance Tuesday via video. 
  8. Adam Matos charged with four Hudson murders

    Criminal

    After he killed four people, authorities say, Adam Matos set about the careful work of covering up his crime while caring for his young son.

    He bought a shovel at a Walmart in Hudson with one of the victim's debit cards, according to his Pasco County arrest affidavit. He sold their six dogs for $50 apiece through ads on Craigs­list, and concocted a story about the victims being away on a trip....

    Adam Matos was on probation for retail theft in Allentown, Pa., when he left the state to move to Florida earlier this summer. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  9. Much is riding on bail hearing for Adam Matos

    Criminal

    Quadruple murder suspect Adam Matos is being held at the Pasco County jail on $200,000 bail — but not because of the four bodies found stacked on a hill on Sept. 4.

    Matos is being held on a charge of aggravated assault. He's accused of holding a knife to the throat of one of those victims and threatening to kill her last month.

    But Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger called his client's bail "absurd" and an "abuse of the system."...

    Adam Matos is being held on $200,000 bail. His lawyer calls the amount an “abuse of the system.”
  10. Adam Matos' story in Pasco quadruple murder backed by no one (w/ video)

    Crime

    HUDSON — Adam Matos, the only suspect in a grisly quadruple murder, floated a new theory during a jailhouse interview this week about who he thinks might be the culprit.

    Matos is at the center of the investigation into the deaths of ex-girlfriend Megan Brown, her parents, Greg and Margaret, and her new boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard. Their bodies were found Sept. 4 stacked on a hill near the Brown home....

    Adam Matos isn’t charged in the Hudson quadruple murder.
  11. School bus aide accused of slapping boy with autism appears in Pasco court

    Criminal

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A former Pasco County School District bus aide accused of slapping a 10-year-old autistic boy on a school bus was in court Tuesday morning for a hearing. James Lambert, 57, is charged with two counts of child abuse in the June 3 incident, which was caught on video. His lawyer asked for more time to prepare the case, and another hearing was set for Oct. 10.

    After the hearing, the parents of the boy stood outside and expressed frustration that the case against the man caught on video slapping their son was taking so long....

  12. Hudson slaying victim 'was scared for her life'

    Crime

    HUDSON — Adam Matos was drunk when Megan Brown came home after a night out with her new boss and new boyfriend.

    Matos, Brown's ex and the father of her son, demanded to know where she'd been. They argued, according to a criminal complaint filed in Pasco County court, and Matos grabbed a silver kitchen knife and backed Brown into a corner.

    He held the knife up to her neck and said, "I'll (expletive) kill you," according to the complaint....

    Detectives gather outside the house at 7719 Hatteras Drive in Hudson on Monday while investigating the slaying discovered last week.
  13. Perspective: Murderers and childlike minds

    Perspective

    He kidnapped, raped and killed a pregnant woman and then a cop, heinous crimes that put him on death row. But with an IQ hovering around 70, his attorneys say he has the mind of a child.

    The state of Florida has wanted to execute him for decades. However, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent ruling that may fundamentally change capital punishment in America, says Florida got it wrong.

    The case of Freddie Lee Hall — Hall vs. Florida — hinged on the question of what makes someone mentally disabled. The Florida Supreme Court had established a "bright line" using the standard IQ test — only those who scored below 70 would be considered mentally disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty....

    Sonny Oats
  14. Suspect arrested, boy unhurt after massive manhunt in Pasco

    Crime

    Megan Brown was afraid of Adam Matos.

    He could be obsessive and aggressive. Sometimes he shouted and punched things. Recently he pulled a knife on her, investigators say. She didn't want him around their 4-year-old son.

    "I tried to give her a safe haven," said Jim Sigler, who owns the Fisherman's Shack bar in Hudson where Brown worked. "I told her she would be welcome at my house." ...

    Cab driver Salvatore Pizzo drove Adam Matos and his son to a Greyhound station in Tampa. Pizzo later identified Matos when shown a picture of him by authorities.
  15. Four people found dead in Hudson; autistic boy is missing

    Crime

    HUDSON — A week ago, Adam Matos showed up at the Get Hooked Grill, where he had worked as a dishwasher. Fired a few days earlier, he told a manager that he needed his last paycheck.

    Then he vanished.

    On Thursday, Pasco investigators went looking for Matos' 4-year-old son, Ismael "Tristan" Santisteban, who is autistic. What they found was carnage — four people dead on a hill — but no trace of the boy....

    Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco in a news conference Thursday appealed directly to Adam Matos to turn the boy over to authorities. Matos is considered armed and dangerous.