Patty Ryan, Times Staff Writer

Patty Ryan, a Florida native, grew up in Pinellas Park. For more than three decades, she has lived in Tampa, where she's a reporter for the Times. She joined the staff as an editor in 2001, after 22 years at the Tampa Tribune.

Her work has been honored by the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors and the Florida Society of News Editors.

She graduated from the University of South Florida.

Phone: (813) 226-3382


  1. Tampa woman accused of stalking Soundgarden rocker Cornell


    TAMPA — Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell and his wife pulled their children out of New York public schools, fearing that a Tampa woman would try to hurt them, according to a federal complaint that charges the woman with stalking.

    Jessica Robbins, 32, may have tried to enter the Cornells' alternate home in Miami last fall, an FBI agent deduced from an Internet post obtained during the investigation....

    Singer Chris Cornell and his wife, Vicky, pictured at the Neuro at 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif.
  2. Ripple effect of Lifeline indictments in Tampa felt at El Salvador call center


    TAMPA — Workers at a call center in Santa Ana, El Salvador, remember visits from their rich American boss. The phone company owner would arrive in a motorcade, like a president, flanked by gun-waving guards.

    "He thanked us for making him a millionaire," said employee Wilbert Perez-Velasquez, 40.

    The U.S. Justice Department has another explanation for the wealth of Kevin Brian Cox, 38. He is one of three men accused in May of defrauding the federal Lifeline phone program of $32.4 million by exaggerating how many customers qualified for a subsidy because they were poor....

    Wilbert Perez-Velasquez is among 75 employees at a call center in Santa Ana, El Salvador, who were still working when it was shut down earlier this month. The company’s U.S. owner has been accused of cheating a federal phone subsidy program.
  3. Tampa military recruiter accused of claiming $78,000 in undeserved bonuses


    TAMPA — Travis DeVall once described himself as a military recruiter "on steroids."

    He starred in a 2009 Army Times article touting the success of the Army National Guard Recruiting Assistance program, which paid the retired service member up to $5,000 for each new recruit he found.

    But the program buckled under widespread fraud, and now DeVall — a former top producer — faces federal charges that he claimed $78,000 in bonuses he didn't deserve....

  4. Scammer takes 42 bites out of Apple


    TAMPA — A man ran up a $7,753.22 bill at an Apple store.

    When his debit card was declined, he pretended to call his bank. He gave the store clerk a fake authorization code to punch into the card reader.

    And that's how the man, 24-year-old Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr. of Tampa, scammed one of the biggest high-tech companies in the world — not once but 42 times — totaling $309,768, according to federal court records....

    NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: The Apple logo hangs in front of an Apple store on July 23, 2013 in New York City. Apple is due to report third-quarter earnings after the markets close Tuesday. Apple, the California based technology company, has watched its stock sink to $427.68 a share from an all-time high of $702 last September. The company is under pressure to release a new blockbuster product.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) 174457268
  5. Tampa man accused of scamming Apple out of $309,768


    TAMPA — A man ran up a $7,753.22 bill at an Apple store.

    When his debit card was declined, he pretended to call his bank. He gave the store clerk a fake authorization code to punch into the card reader.

    And that's how the man, 24-year-old Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr. of Tampa, scammed one of the biggest high-tech companies in the world — not once but 42 times — totaling $309,768, according to federal court records....

    Authorities say Sharron L. Parrish Jr. defrauded other companies.
  6. Spurned nurse-midwife sues Tampa clinic over contraception duties


    TAMPA — A nurse-midwife fresh out of school has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against a Tampa health chain, alleging she was refused a job because of her religious opposition to prescribing birth control pills and abortion drugs.

    Sara Hellwege, 27, of Atlanta sued Tampa Family Health Centers Inc. and its human resources director, Chad L. Lindsey, seeking damages of $400,000 and the return of federal money paid to the centers this year. ...

  7. Old-guard District Court in Tampa makes way for a new judge


    TAMPA — Five of the 10 federal district judges assigned to the Sam M. Gibbons Courthouse could stay home all day without going broke.

    They could retire from judicial office at full pay. Instead, they work, even after replacements arrive, in what appears to be the opposite of public employees playing golf on the clock.

    One of them, William Castagna, turned 90 last month. Old? Tell that to the drug dealer half his age whom Castagna sentenced to life 10 months ago....

    TP_317848_FOUN_HONEYWELL (01/29/2010 Tampa) Judge Charlene Honeywell speaks at the Tampa Theater on January 29, 2009 during her investiture ceremony on January 29, 2009. Honeywell was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida for life by President Barack Obama. Honeywell, 52, is a former Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
  8. Pinellas Sheriff's Office pays $1.15 million in wrongful-death suit


    TAMPA — The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office paid $1.15 million days ago to the estate of a mentally ill woman who died in 2009 after refusing food and medicine in the Pinellas County jail.

    The settlement ends all federal and state court claims against the jail and its employees by Michael DeGraw, whose late wife, Jennifer DeGraw, then 50, was found unresponsive in her cell on March 24, 2009, in a swill of cereal, bread and feces....

  9. Florida Supreme Court suspends lawyer 'tortured' by microchip fears


    TAMPA — The Florida Supreme Court has suspended indefinitely a lawyer who drew attention with assertions that others controlled and tortured her through a microchip illegally implanted in her brain.

    Janice L. Jennings, 55, may not accept new clients and must cease representing existing ones after Aug. 1, the court ordered, acting on a emergency petition from the Florida Bar.

    She was ordered to undergo evaluation by the nonprofit Florida Lawyers Assistance organization and by a private psychologist or psychiatrist to be named by a Bar referee. ...

  10. Tampa day-trader firm accused of defrauding customers


    TAMPA — His peppy online profile tells of a passion for helping others reach their maximum potential. His day-trader firm, Traders Cafe, roosted briefly on the 26th floor of downtown Tampa's Rivergate Tower, touting low fees and high leverage for investors willing to pool their money.

    But Matthew Pasquale Ionno wasn't what he pretended to be, according to court records.

    Instead of helping people make money, he and a conspirator defrauded customers of $473,742, federal authorities say. More than $181,000 was withdrawn as cash from bank tellers and automatic teller machines, court records state....

  11. Probe of Tampa detective a windfall for Cortnee Brantley


    TAMPA — A year ago, a federal judge decided that prison could wait until a higher court ruled on Cortnee Brantley's appeal.

    Prison continues to wait.

    Her appellate brief hasn't even been filed.

    Brantley's life took a brutal turn in 2010 when a passenger in her car, Dontae Morris, killed two Tampa police officers on a traffic stop. Morris was sentenced to death. Brantley was sentenced to 366 days in prison for helping to conceal that he was a felon with a gun and bullets....

    Cortnee Brantley was sentenced in relation to Dontae Morris’ fatal police officer shootings.
  12. Onetime Pagan's Motorcycle Club 'enforcer' prison-bound on gun charge


    TAMPA — A man once known to law enforcement as the Florida "enforcer" for the Pagan's Motorcycle Club is headed back to federal prison to serve piggyback sentences for gun crimes.

    Kenneth DiFranco, 57, soured his federal probation last summer by getting caught with a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol at a crash scene in Hudson.

    As a felon several times over — with five New Jersey convictions on charges that include burglary and aggravated assault — DiFranco can't legally own guns....

    Kenneth DiFranco gets four years in prison followed by  three years of supervised release.
  13. Slain Tampa detective's daughter pulls through transplant surgery

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Somewhere in anonymity this week, an organ donor died. But not without gifts for those left behind.

    Demetra Bell Jones, daughter of a police detective killed in the line of duty 16 years ago, emerged from four hours of surgery Wednesday afternoon with a freshly transplanted liver to replace one ravaged by disease.

    "Docs just updated. She's out of surgery and on her way to a new life. Thank God!" her uncle, Jeff Bell, texted a news reporter, adding, "Lots of tears of joy here in the waiting room."...

  14. Bar asks state Supreme Court to suspend lawyer over microchip claim


    TAMPA —The Florida Bar on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to suspend a lawyer who asserts that others hurt and control her through a microchip illegally implanted in her brain.

    The emergency petition contains a transcript of a May 16 hearing in U.S. District Court in Tampa, during which lawyer Janice L. Jennings, 55, voiced a belief that the opposing counsel in a case before the court had used the microchip to torture her....

  15. Donor liver found for slain Tampa detective's daughter

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After months of waiting for a match, the daughter of a slain Tampa police detective is expected to undergo potentially life-saving liver transplant surgery today at Florida Hospital in Orlando.

    Demetra Bell Jones, 39, has autoimmune hepatitis. She has endured immune disorders since childhood, but her failed liver was by far the most critical.

    "Her condition worsened over the weekend, and the doctors decided she needed to be No. 1 on the transplant list," said her uncle, Jeff Bell. ...

    Demetra Bell Jones’ father, Randy Bell, and his partner were killed by Hank Earl Carr in May 1998.