Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Teen sentenced to life in cab driver killing

A 17-year-old St. Petersburg youth was sentenced Friday to life in prison for murdering a cab driver while robbing him of $2. Circuit Judge R. Grable Stoutamire accepted a jury's recommendation of life for Antonio Dossie, who was found guilty Feb. 10 in the fatal shooting of Bay Cab employee Terry Thomas Ash. Ash, 38, was found dead near his cab April 30 with a single gunshot wound to his chest. Dossie will serve at least 25 years in prison, Stoutamire said. An alleged accomplice, Dwayne Wright, 18, of St. Petersburg, is scheduled to be tried for first-degree murder in May. Abandoned baby released from hospital CLEARWATER - "Seminole Sam," the newborn baby found abandoned Sunday in Seminole, was released Friday from Bayfront Medical Center. State Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services officials took custody of the baby about 1 p.m. An agency spokeswoman said the infant was placed in emergency shelter care. Abandoned infants usually are cared for in temporary shelter homes and become eligible for adoption after 60 days. The infant had been at the St. Petersburg hospital since being discovered about 6 p.m. Sunday at Blessed Sacrament Church. The baby was 2 to 6 hours old when it was found wrapped in a

bed sheet under bushes. The infant's parents have not been found.

TV personalities to help open dome ST. PETERSBURG - The grand opening ceremonies of the Florida Suncoast Dome will have some familiar faces: Personalities from the three local network television affiliates will serve as the masters of ceremonies.

John Wilson of WTSP-Ch. 10, Kelly Craig of WTVT-Ch. 13 and Dick Crippen of WFLA-Ch. 8 will be hosts for the ceremonies March 3. In addition, WYNF-FM morning disc jockeys Ron Diaz and Ron Bennington will provide a warm-up welcome before the show. The grand opening will feature a pageant-style celebration involving 5,000 performers, followed by a Kenny Rogers concert. Tickets are $15, $20 and $25 and are available from Ticketmaster outlets, the Bayfront Center box office or by calling 287-8844 in Tampa. The service charge will vary depending on where the tickets are purchased.

Charges against exotic dancers upheld CLEARWATER - A judge Friday rejected arguments that seven exotic dancers were exercising their First Amendment right of free expression when they allegedly sat on customers' laps and simulated sexual intercourse. County Judge Henry Andringa refused to dismiss misdemeanor lewdness charges against the women, who were employees of the Fountain Blue Cabaret in Largo. The women's attorney, William C. Gregg III, had argued that his clients' shows were no more explicit than the steamy dance scenes in the movie Dirty Dancing. And, he

contended, the string bikinis worn by the women were no more revealing than those seen at public beaches. Prosecutors, however, accused the women of "masquerading behind a facade of free expression."

Judge rejects minority contract program TAMPA - A federal judge agrees with a group of white contractors that

Hillsborough County's minority business enterprise program was

unconstitutional. In an order issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich said the county did not have evidence of discrimination against minority contractors in 1984 when it enacted the program to help them. In October, Kovachevich issued an injunction barring the county from enforcing its program until the court decided the merits of the case. The county will appeal this week's ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta, said Claude Tison, the lawyer handling the case.

Harvey challenged in Tampa city election TAMPA - The president of a local transit union said he will try to unseat Perry Harvey Jr., a Tampa City Council member since 1983, in the March 1991 election. Michael Hadley, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1593, said Friday that Harvey's recent legal troubles as president of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1402 were not a factor in his decision to run for the office.

Harvey is the subject of a federal investigation into a longshoremen's union fund under his stewardship. "I'm praying Perry comes through this with flying colors," said Hadley, a 37-year-old bus driver who

volunteered for Harvey's 1983 election campaign. "Unions in the South have so many bad labels on them, and union organizations have been given a bad name."

Girl, 13, dies after falling from car hood VALRICO - A joy ride turned tragic when a 13-year-old Valrico girl died after falling off the hood of a moving car, authorities said.

Mandi Marie Lentz apparently lost her balance and fell to the pavement, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. The accident occurred at 5:55 p.m. Thursday in front of her home at 1833 Kim Acres Lane. Michelle Faro, 13, who also was riding on the 1980 Chevrolet, was uninjured. The name of the driver, a 16-year-old boy, was not released. Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the three teens had

been joy riding in the neighborhood shortly before the accident.

Rain brings on sinkholes in Citrus County LECANTO - The cracks in Terri Hope's house have gotten so big that she can stick her fist in them. Her home on Hollywood Circle has been settling for some time, but heavy rain during the weekend has caused a sinkhole in her back yard and experts say the ground under her home has weakened. She and her 17-month-old son moved out this week to stay with a friend. The troublesome holes have developed throughout the neighborhoods off Rock Crusher Road this week. Recent low water levels have created underground gaps in the sandy soil, said federal soil scientist Paul Pilny. Sudden rainstorms place a heavy weight on the surface and can cause the ground to collapse. In the back yard of Mike

and Angela Duncan on Woodside Circle, a hole 9 feet deep and 8 feet wide developed Saturday night.

Description of abuse suspect circulated BRADENTON - Investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff's Department say they have a good description of a man suspected of fondling young children in Bradenton department stores. Five children during the past month have been approached in the stores and fondled. In one instance, a child was offered money to leave with the man. The white male suspect is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s with blond or copper-colored hair that is sun-bleached and combed straight back over his head. He has a small mustache, is tanned and has blue eyes. He has a medium build and is about 5 feet 8. In all the fondling incidents, the children either ran screaming to their parents or the man left after being seen by witnesses. Twice he was seen leaving on a blue

bicycle. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jody Rey at 747-3011.

Free tradition ends for Festival of States ST. PETERSBURG - The Festival of States' 68-year tradition as an almost totally free event will end this year. Straub Park will be surrounded by a fence, and people who attend the festival's six weekend concerts will have to pay to get in. Don MacTavish, executive director of the festival, said Friday that the charge is necessary because the City Council reduced its subsidy to the festival this year and because the festival is taking on new events. The festival is scheduled March 23 to April 8. MacTavish said the charge to get into each of six major concerts at Straub Park will be $3. However,

festivalgoers will be able to buy a $2 pin that will get them into one concert and entitle them to a $1 discount for each of the other five.

Company fined $15,000 for lake dumping CLEARWATER - A Pinellas Park company has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine for dumping garbage, construction debris and other material into a small lake, state officials said. McPhe Investment Corp. also will test the ground water, surface water and soil near the Pinellas Park lake, said Charles Markun, an environmental specialist for the state Department of Environmental Regulation. If the settlement is approved by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Howard P. Rives, it would be added to a $25,000 criminal fine levied in September against McPhe and Dennis Hallam, manager of the company.

Parents win right to sue in sisters' deaths The parents of two sisters who were killed when their car was rammed by a fleeing suspect can sue the law enforcement agencies involved in the chase, an appeals court ruled Friday. The justices sitting on the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland said Lawrence and Ada Brown of Palm Harbor can continue their legal battle against the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department, Pinellas Park and Kenneth City. Judith Brown, 20, and Susan Brown, 23, were killed early June 24, 1984, as their vehicle crossed U.S. 19 on State Road 584. Their car was hit by a car driven by John Joseph Deady, who was being pursued by more than a dozen law enforcement cars, the Browns' lawsuit states. The chase

began after Deady, who also died in the crash, ran a red light.

- Compiled by RANDY ROGUSKI from staff reports