TAMPA — A judge denied bail Tuesday for Christopher Peter Hanney, the man accused of dousing his estranged wife with lighter fluid, clubbing her on the head with a hammer and then setting her on fire last week.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Bernard Silver set bail at $100,000 on the arson charge pending against Hanney, but that was a moot point since he did not set bail on the attempted murder charge....
TAMPA — A fugitive on Pasco County's Most Wanted list has been apprehended in Las Vegas and returned to Tampa to face federal charges in a murder-for-hire plot, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday.
Joseph Lee Musson, 32 of 13339 Hillwood Court in Hudson, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli on a charges of racketeering with intent to murder and being a felon in possession of firearms. The judge ordered him detained....
TAMPA — A rapist already serving three life prison sentences was sentenced to three more consecutive life terms Tuesday morning.
Jerrod Pass, 40, became known to authorities as the "stinky rapist." He preyed on single black mothers, who said he had a foul body odor.
Authorities say that between 2003 and his arrest in 2007, Pass sexually battered at least seven women in neighborhoods near the University of South Florida. In August, he went on trial in the first of those cases. Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman sentenced Pass to three life terms. ...
11/15/09 Public Safety
TAMPA — Florida ranks near the top of the nation on spending for its prison system, according to research by the Pew Center on the States.
A group of stakeholders who want to see that money used in other ways to reduce crime and rehabilitate offenders will spend the next two days in Tampa plotting a path to change.
"Florida has a huge prison system, enormous costs, and yet it isn't seeing anywhere near the crime reduction that it should be getting for all that spending," said Adam Gelb, director for the Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project....
TAMPA — Two years ago, Roger Lee Yeager slammed into a car and killed an 83-year-old woman as he slowed from racing another vehicle at more than 100 mph.
He stood in court Friday insisting that some of the blame belonged to the woman's husband, William Ryan, who was making a U-turn at Gibsonton and Kenda drives as Yeager attempted to avoid the crash.
That didn't sit well with Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles, who said there was no evidence at trial to support the idea that Ryan contributed to the accident. ...
11/12/09 Public Safety
TAMPA — Access to a Homeland Security Department database helped local law enforcement identify more than 111,000 immigrants in custody in the last year who may have faced sanctions from immigration officials, federal authorities announced Thursday.
In October 2008, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began granting local jails access to its records. The initiative, called Secure Communities, extends through 95 jurisdictions across 11 states....
TAMPA — Deon Griffin gazed at the sheets of yellow legal paper he'd scribbled notes on and talked about his wife, Chanet, in the present tense as he asked her family for forgiveness Tuesday in court.
"I have committed a horrible crime. I have ended the life of a beautiful woman who meant the world to me," said Griffin, 35. "I love my wife very much, and she knows this. I pray every day that she will somehow come back to me."...
TAMPA — A mentally ill Vietnam veteran was sentenced Friday to five years of probation for making repeated threats to kill his Veterans Affairs financial guardian and blow up the agency's office building.
Ronald Franklin Barnes, 59, of Wildwood had already spent close to 15 months in custody following his arrest. He pleaded guilty in August to making the threats, and U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich granted a defense motion to vary from the sentencing range of 15 to 21 months based on the amount of time Barnes has already served....
TAMPA — Immigration officials won't appeal the ruling of a judge who refused to deport University of South Florida student Youssef Megahed on terrorism charges.
"After carefully reviewing and evaluating the decision made by an immigration judge to terminate Megahed's removal proceedings, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decided to not appeal the judge's decision," ICE said in a statement released through spokeswoman Nicole Navas. "The ICE case is closed."...
TAMPA — A rapist already serving three life prison sentences could receive three more life terms after a Hillsborough County jury convicted him Friday on additional sexual battery charges.
Jerrod Pass, 40, had become known to authorities as the "stinky rapist." He preyed on single black mothers, and his victims reported that he had a foul body odor.
Authorities say that between 2003 and his arrest in 2007 Pass sexually battered at least seven women in blighted neighborhoods near the University of South Florida. In August, he went to trial for sexual battery in the first of those cases. Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman sentenced Pass to three life terms....
TAMPA — A former female inmate at the Hillsborough County jail "never, ever" disobeyed a lawful order from a deputy she claims grabbed her by the hair and slammed her to the floor, her lawyer said Wednesday in federal court.
"Even if she refused to get up and go to a holding cell, that still makes the use of force unreasonable," said Virlyn B. Moore III, attorney for Marcella Pourmoghani, 42, who is suing Sheriff David Gee and Deputy Shanna Marsh, alleging excessive use of force at the Orient Road Jail....
TAMPA — An intensive, nine-month federal investigation of mortgage fraud that stretched from Jacksonville to Tampa and Fort Myers has resulted in charges against 105 people, authorities said Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton called Florida ground zero for mortgage fraud in the nation. He released details of an investigative "surge" in May, saying the goal was to restore confidence in the real estate market and send a message that "mortgage fraud won't be tolerated." ...
TAMPA — An appeals court will decide whether a Hillsborough County judge erred by not dismissing a murder charge against a tow company owner who claims it was self-defense when he shot and killed a man accelerating toward him and an employee.
Donald Montanez, 47, wants immunity from prosecution on a second-degree murder charge under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to meet force with force when they feel threatened....
TAMPA — The King of Hudson has been dethroned.
A federal judge has sentenced Arde Olsen, also known as the "King of Hudson," to 20 years in prison for trafficking in oxycodone.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Olsen was the ringleader of a large oxycodone trafficking organization that he mainly operated from an auto repair shop at 11923 Pine Forest Drive in Hudson and a home on Denton Avenue....
TAMPA — A Pinellas County man was sentenced Thursday to 51 months in federal prison for his role in a scam that defrauded a swimming pool supply company out of more than $3.4 million.
Jack Randolph Shaw of Dunedin and a co-conspirator must repay that amount to Blue Hawaiian Products, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled.
Shaw pleaded guilty in July to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return....