BROOKSVILLE — Meghan Jean White is serving five years in state prison for injecting a 16-year-old girl with a powerful painkiller last year.
Now White, 38, is charged with first-degree murder and accused of committing an eerily similar crime in which someone died.
A media release from the Hernando Sheriff's Office gives this account:
On Aug. 31, 2012, detectives were called to investigate a death at the Microtel Inn on Nature Coast Boulevard in Spring Hill. Investigators confirmed that Krista Rodgers died of a drug overdose. ...
12/10/13 Public Safety
BROOKSVILLE — An assistant state attorney erred last week when he said in court that a Hernando sheriff's captain is suspected of stealing money.
The prosecutor, Matt Pila, was correct when he told a judge that Capt. Tom Garcia is on paid leave as the Sheriff's Office conducts a criminal investigation into its Vice and Narcotics Unit, said Assistant State Attorney Donald "Sonny" McCathran....
12/06/13 Public Safety
BROOKSVILLE — One of the targets of an investigation into the Hernando County Sheriff's Office vice and narcotics unit is an 18-year veteran who was promoted to the rank of captain last month.
Capt. Tom Garcia, 53, is under investigation for "stealing money," an assistant state attorney confirmed Thursday during a court hearing in which the scrutiny of Garcia contributed to dismissal of the case. The Tampa Bay Times obtained an audio recording of the hearing on Friday....
BROOKSVILLE — Shortly after racing up U.S. 19 last year, crashing into vehicles along the way, Richard Barrett tried to explain to deputies what happened.
"Something took over my mind," he told investigators, an arrest report states.
On Monday, a judge signed an order ruling that Barrett is not guilty of vehicular homicide because he was insane that day.
On Feb. 15, 2012, Barrett's Ford minivan slammed into the back of 72-year-old Charles Hesser's Toyota truck near Northcliffe Boulevard in Spring Hill, reports state. Hesser's pickup veered across the median and flipped six times. The retired plant superintendent who wintered with his wife in Weeki Wachee died 50 days later. ...
BROOKSVILLE — Last year, a jury decided that Kirk Bleich Jr. was one of two armed men who broke into a Spring Hill woman's home one morning in 2010 and robbed her. A judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison.
Now he is a free man.
Another jury, hearing the case after Bleich's first conviction was overturned on appeal, took 90 minutes Wednesday to acquit him of home invasion robbery. The 50-year-old Brooksville resident faced the possibility of life in prison if convicted....
BROOKSVILLE — A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against the former manager of Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, but it's likely not the last that Don Silvernell has heard from his accuser.
Robert Rey and his airplane management business, Jet Concepts Inc., claimed that in December 2012, Silvernell told Hernando County resident Paul Douglas that Rey was "a crook, that he doesn't pay his bills and that he is financially incompetent,'' according to the lawsuit filed in August. Douglas at the time was considering leasing the property of a defunct air center at the airport....
Charles P. Bartlett faced a host of felony charges after he was arrested earlier this year in connection with two Allied Veterans of the World sweepstakes cafes in Hernando County.
On Tuesday, the 70-year-old Hudson resident pleaded no contest to two counts of possessing a slot machine, a second-degree misdemeanor. The rest of Bartlett's charges, which included multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and keeping a gambling house, were dropped by prosecutors....
'Tis the season of jammed parking lots and tempting targets.
It's also the time of year when the Hernando Sheriff's Office assigns deputies to shopping plazas. The patrols will start this week, said Sgt. John McMurdo.
"We want people to feel safe when they get out of their car and come back with big purchases," McMurdo said. "If you go to a plaza, you're very likely going to see a patrol unit."...
BROOKSVILLE — Karen Macchione insisted until the end that a ringing phone, not the methadone coursing through her veins, caused her to plow into a construction zone and kill a man two years ago.
"I am truly sorry," the 47-year-old Brooksville woman said during her sentencing hearing Tuesday. "I'm guilty of reaching down for a cellphone. If I could take it back, I would, but I can't."...
SPRING HILL — As Bill Stelling lay bleeding on his living room floor, a 911 dispatcher asked why his neighbor shot him.
Did they have an argument?
"No!" Stelling replied between moans of pain. "I don't even pay attention to him. Nobody in the neighborhood talks to him."
Two months after the Sept. 10 shooting, the 67-year-old retired widower had finally recovered enough to speak at length with a detective, but he still could not come up with a specific slight that might have sparked Thomas Brocato's wrath....
David Koller, 43, is the third person and first Democrat to file to challenge Spring Hill Republican Rep. Rich Nugent, who is seeking a third term next year.
He said he has grown increasingly frustrated with the partisan gridlock in national politics.
"I tell my children that if you feel you can effect change for the better, then you have an obligation to do it," the married father of four said Wednesday. "This is a calling."...
How interested is David Koller in the machinations of the federal government? Interested enough to record C-SPAN so he can watch floor debates and committee meetings after work.
Watching Washington, D.C., from the comfort of his living room used to be enough for the 43-year-old Ocala business owner. Now he's running for Congress.
Koller is the third person and first Democrat to file to challenge Spring Hill Republican Rep. Rich Nugent, who is seeking a third term next year....
SPRING HILL — William "Lucky" Luchsinger survived four tours in Vietnam, retired from the Marines as a colonel and made a second career out of the game he loved.
After more than 20 years spent working at golf courses, the 70-year-old Spring Hill resident was about to celebrate his latest achievement: the rebirth of the shuttered Spring Hill Golf & Country Club.
"He was biting at the bit to get it going," said girlfriend Judy Leverock....
BROOKSVILLE — Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti leveled his gaze at the mother who stood before him as both a defendant and a victim of her crime.
One morning nearly three years ago, Tiffany Mitchell found her 2-year-old daughter, Kaylynn, cold and blue in her bed. The brown-haired, blue-eyed girl everyone called Bella died of oxycodone poisoning, likely from a pill Mitchell left on a nightstand. ...
SPRING HILL — Tiffany Mitchell has spent what likely are her last days of freedom in the unremarkable way of a single mother trying to get by.
She loads her sons Shawn, 10, and Dylan, 8, into her battered green Buick each morning, takes them to the school, works a shift at a Hudson pizza parlor, picks up the boys, cooks their dinner and helps with their homework.
She has tried not to think about today, when a Hernando County judge will decide how many years, if any, she will be in prison for the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Kaylynn....