10/05/15 Public Safety
ST. PETE BEACH — The body of a 9-year-old boy who was swept away by a strong current as he played in ankle-deep water Saturday afternoon was recovered Monday morning, the Pinellas Sheriff's Office said.
About four Sheriff's boats had begun their search for Cameron Bullard at 7 a.m. when they saw his body about 8:30 a.m. along the shore of Shell Key Preserve's northern coast, less than two miles away from where he disappeared. Authorities brought him to the Pass-a-Grille Marina....
10/02/15 Public Safety
CLEARWATER — Joseph White is not yet a police officer, but for the past three years, the St. Petersburg College student has directed traffic at crash scenes, helped drivers with disabled cars, and shadowed officers on patrol.
White, 21, is among 13 members participating this year in the Clearwater Police Department's AmeriCorps program, where for 20 years college students have gained law enforcement experience. It is the only AmeriCorps program in the state dedicated to public safety....
Man accused of stealing motorized cart from walmart
Officers arrested a 55-year-old man accused of leaving a Walmart with one of the store's motorized carts, an arrest report says.
Police found Dale Robertson with the cart, valued at $3,000, on U.S. 19 about a mile away from the Walmart at 8001 U.S. 19 N.
Robertson was jailed Sept. 18 on a charge of retail theft....
ST. PETERSBURG — It was about 5:30 a.m. when Ferg's Sports Bar's video surveillance captured a man crawling toward the beer coolers, arrest reports state.
The man, later identified as Gary Rhaney, 48, was trying to pry open the coolers with screwdrivers on Sept. 1. Employees who were in the bar at the time found him, reports say.
The St. Petersburg man was arrested on charges of burglary and possession of burglary tools....
TARPON SPRINGS — The house was supposed to be Dunedin fire paramedic Jean Ulloa's three-bedroom, two-bathroom dream home, just one block away from Lake Tarpon.
But nearly two years after construction halted, the unfinished cinder block structure with a tattered roof has turned into a nightmare for residents on Meyer Lane.
While neighbors complained to the city about the property's condition, Ulloa sued the contractors and surveyors he hired to build his home, claiming in a complaint filed in July that the house was built 17 feet from its intended location, encroaching on a public alley on the property's east side....
09/03/15 The Feed
The news jumped out at me from Twitter. I stared for several seconds in disbelief.
This wasn't the kind of thing I could shout across a newsroom cubicle and expect anyone to understand. It required a call home, to the one person who would know exactly how I felt.
Word had traveled fast.
"Did you hear?" asked my 92-year-old Cuban grandmother in that hushed voice she reserves for announcing the death of a distant relative....
08/27/15 Local Government
TARPON SPRINGS — When Claire Lachance learned that the adults with disabilities class her daughter has been attending for the last 12 years was canceled, she couldn't believe it.
"It was kind of a blow," she said. "This isn't really happening. They must have made a mistake."
Lachance didn't want to tell her daughter, Susan Levesque, about the news.
But thanks to funding from the city of Tarpon Springs, she won't have to. The Gro Group program is scheduled to resume after Labor Day, the only program of its kind that will start this school year despite a recent cut in state funding....
Police: Man ate stolen chicken in Publix restroom, faces theft charge
Officers last week arrested a 35-year-old man who was accused of taking a chicken from the deli area of a Publix and then eating it inside a restroom, an arrest report states.
Video surveillance at the store on Belcher Road captured Toby Howard of Clearwater entering the restroom with the chicken that he had not paid for. An employee later found an open package of chicken....
08/26/15 Human Interest
Michael Honeycutt saw the news Sunday night: a University of South Florida student hospitalized in Cuba for weeks because her family couldn't afford to fly her home for treatment.
The CEO of Jet ICU, a Brooksville-based air ambulance company that has flown more than 15,000 patients worldwide, Honeycutt wanted to help.
As early as Friday, one of his jets will fly Barbara Jimenez, 22, to Tampa for free. She will be admitted to Tampa General Hospital....
A medical transport company has offered to fly a University of South Florida student hospitalized in Cuba back to the state for free, Rep. David Jolly said Tuesday.
Barbara Jimenez, 22, could be back in Florida as early as this week.
"This is hopefully going to be a very good week," Jolly said. "We are hopeful that this concludes on behalf of the family."
Jimenez was seriously injured this month in a car wreck that killed her cabdriver and injured her boyfriend and two relatives near Havana. She does not have health insurance and her parents couldn't afford a medically supported flight to Florida, a service that they said could cost tens of thousands of dollars....
08/22/15 Human Interest
The daughter of Cuban parents, Barbara Jimenez has dreams of attending law school after graduating from the University of South Florida. She wants to be a litigation lawyer.
But earlier this month, she and her boyfriend, John Fox, were seriously injured in a car crash while visiting her family in Cuba. And because she doesn't have health insurance, she can't return to the United States for care. Flying her back could cost tens of thousands of dollars, her family said....
A state appeals court reversed four 65-year sentences of a Hillsborough County man convicted of sexually assaulting a high school student and a day care worker when he was a teenager.
Kendrick Morris, 23, will be granted a new sentencing, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, because of a recent ruling that determined imposing lengthy prison terms on juveniles convicted of crimes other than murder is unconstitutional. Those sentences fail to provide them with "a meaningful opportunity" for early release based on maturity and rehabilitation, the opinion reads....
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Benjamin Bishop's mind is often clouded with delusions and hallucinations, according to his defense attorneys.
But prosecutors argued during his murder trial this week that Bishop knew what he was doing on Oct. 28, 2012, when he grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and fired eight times at his mother, Imari Shibata, and her boyfriend, Kelley Allen, inside their Oldsmar home at 205 Cedar Key Court....
LARGO — A 12-member jury began deliberating Friday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of a man charged with fatally shooting his mother, Imari Shibata, and her boyfriend, Kelley Allen.
Prosecutors said that in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2012, Benjamin Bishop grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun he had been hiding from his family and walked to his mother's room. When Shibata asked what he was doing, Bishop fired at her and Allen several times. Shibata, a nursing assistant, and Allen, a swim coach, died inside the home at 205 Cedar Key Court in Oldsmar. Prosecutors said Bishop killed them because he was angry at his mother, who had told him that evening that he needed to take his medications and get a job....
LARGO — Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Benjamin Bishop thought he was Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler, sometimes talked to the TV, and believed gangs were after him.
These are among the delusions that public defender Christina Porrello listed Tuesday to the 12-member jury in the first-degree murder trial of Bishop, 20, charged with fatally shooting his mother, Imari Shibata, and her boyfriend, Kelley Allen, on Oct. 28, 2012....