LARGO — A jury acquitted a 39-year-old man accused of shooting another man in the head in Clearwater nearly three years ago.
In June 2011, Casey Garber's body was found behind the closed Dogwater Cafe in Clearwater near Countryside Mall. Michael McKinney was charged with first-degree murder in Garber's slaying.
A jury on Tuesday found McKinney not guilty of murder, but did return guilty verdicts on other charges related to the case. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 25....
CLEARWATER — Miguel Angel Garcia of Tampa thought he was traveling to Clearwater to meet with a 14-year-old girl he messaged online for sex. Instead, he was arrested and charged with traveling to meet a minor.
But just hours after being released on $5,000 bail from the Pinellas County Jail, Garcia, 33, was seeking sex from girls in chat rooms again, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. He is among the "plethora" of predators seeking sex from minors online, he said....
TARPON SPRINGS — For 40 years, John Mroczek has been creating silver and gold jewelry embedded with stones, from diamonds and pearls to emeralds. For a decade, he and his wife, Denise, who live near South Bend, Ind., have sold his jewelry at the annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival in Craig Park.
After the first day of this year's festival, April 5, John and his son stowed the merchandise in a large compartment inside their Honda Odyssey. They spent the night at a friend's house in Tarpon Springs, Denise said....
CLEARWATER — Before customers see the jewelry displayed inside glass cases at Bradley Harris' jewelry store, they are greeted by a mug shot of a man who once worked there.
"Business Alert!" is scrawled above Norris Smith's booking photo, taken at the Pinellas County jail the day police say he admitted stealing money, diamonds and gold from Harris while he worked at the store for about six months....
04/08/14 Bizarre News
PINELLAS PARK — A video of a topless woman vandalizing a McDonald's went viral Tuesday.
The news aggregation website Drudge Report linked readers to an article on Breitbart.com with a video showing the "agitated" woman inside the restaurant it said was in St. Petersburg.
But the ruckus actually happened March 24 at a Pinellas Park McDonald's.
Sandra Suarez, 41, was walking on 66th Street N about 10:50 p.m. that night clad only in bikini bottoms and clutching the rest of her clothes in one hand, according to Pinellas Park police. She went into the McDonald's at 10191 66th St. N, where an employee asked her to put her clothes on....
CLEARWATER — Rebecca Ayn Fenton held a knife to Alfred Nolen's throat and threatened to kill him just as she had killed her husband, according to court records.
Nolen, who lived with Fenton in the past, didn't report the confrontation to police. It wasn't until a Clearwater homicide detective interviewed him that Nolen reported the threat.
These and other details were revealed in an indictment released to the Tampa Bay Times after Fenton, 46, was arrested March 21 in connection to the 2008 slaying of her husband, Larry Fenton....
CLEARWATER — The call came in just after midnight on Christopher Mickey's phone.
"I did it," Michael McKinney told him.
Just weeks before, McKinney had told Mickey he wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. He mentioned Casey Garber, their mutual acquaintance, as a possible target.
Mickey thought he was joking.
But the following day, a woman walking her dog at the Clearwater Executive Golf Course on Countryside Boulevard found Garber's body behind the closed Dogwater Cafe....
CLEARWATER — The custody of a 7-year-old girl remains uncertain a month after her father was accused of killing her grandmother at their Clearwater home.
The girl's mother, Tracey Lohoski, and grandfather Edward Lohoski are fighting each other for custody after 34-year-old Matthew Lohoski, Tracey's ex-husband and the child's father, killed his 59-year-old mother, Deborah, in the back yard of her home at 1709 El Trinidad Drive E in Clearwater while the girl played inside, police said....
PALM HARBOR — While authorities investigate the blaze that destroyed part of a storage facility early Wednesday, state officials are taking precautions to ensure the fire did not cause any environmental damage.
Firefighters responded to the Florida West Covered Storage facility at 4470 Alt. U.S. 19 about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Explosions and multiple fires sparked as crews tried to control the three-alarm fire, authorities said....
SAFETY HARBOR — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the plane crash on McMullen-Booth Road early Saturday that killed the pilot and his 15-year-old daughter and seriously injured another passenger.
According to the report, the Piper PA-28 left John C. Tune Airport in Nashville just before midnight Friday.
About 4 a.m. Saturday, the pilot, Jeffrey Bronken, was attempting to make a "forced landing" on McMullen-Booth Road, just 6 miles north of his destination, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport....
PALM HARBOR — Dan Ferrans and his wife, Sue, were looking forward to what they called "the dream" — retiring within the next three years and venturing on road trips in their 38-foot Damon Challenger RV.
The Palm Harbor couple kept their RV at Florida West Covered Storage, a place equipped with security cameras, key pad entrances and tall black gates where others also sheltered the incarnations of their dreams: big boats, babied classic cars, luxurious recreational vehicles....
03/23/14 Human Interest
Heidi Heine sat before the empty canvas and got to work. She dipped a brush in orange paint and swiftly spread it in vertical strokes.
On her own, she has painted palm trees, water scenes and flowers. But when she spotted a Groupon deal online for a Paint Nite event at Copperheads Tap House in Safety Harbor, she signed up despite the one-hour drive from her Palmetto home....
03/23/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Atop the front entrance of the nine-bedroom bungalow on Fifth Avenue N was a metal sign that read "Rock N Roll."
Reality star Brent Bruns II had visions of turning the 1910 wood-frame house, with its two stories and spacious front porch, into a bed and breakfast.
But while he filmed episodes in South Carolina of the now-defunct show Doomsday Castle, about a family building a castle to serve as a bunker in the event of doomsday, Bruns fell behind on mortgage payments. Then came the foreclosure....
CLEARWATER — Police arrested a Clearwater woman Friday evening who they said killed her husband more than six years ago.
About 5 p.m., officers arrested Rebecca Ayn Fenton, 46, at the Capri Mobile Home Park near Sunset Point Road and U.S. 19. The arrest came soon after a Pinellas grand jury indicted Fenton on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of her husband, Larry Fenton, 57. ...
03/20/14 Public Safety
LARGO — An officer found Thomas Morrow drunk and asleep on a bench in Treasure Island last July.
Morrow hadn't committed a crime, but he was placed under protective custody because of his condition and was put into a Pinellas County Jail transport van occupied by a man who had.
A few miles from the jail, Morrow was beaten by the other detainee and sustained severe brain injuries, a collapsed lung and fractured ribs, authorities said. He remained hospitalized and bedridden until his death Sept. 12....