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Trial scheduled in fraternity rape case

TALLAHASSEE _ The oft-delayed trial of two fraternity brothers charged with raping a Florida State University student has been scheduled again. Leon Circuit Judge T. E. Steinmeyer set a May 14 trial date for Byron L. Stewart, 23, of Orlando and 25-year-old Daniel G. Oltarsh of Fort Lauderdale. Both were members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity when the 18-year-old woman was assaulted in 1988. Prosecutors say the woman was raped at the fraternity house and then taken to a neighboring house, where she was discovered with Greek symbols and crude words scrawled on her body.Convicted rapist's confession thrown out

FORT LAUDERDALE _ A state appeals court has ordered a new trial or freedom for a man sentenced to three life terms in the rape of a 9-year-old, saying his confession was wrongfully obtained. Broward County prosecutors have 90 days from Wednesday to decide what to do with Richard Martin, 47, who was convicted in 1988 on three counts of capital sexual battery on a minor. The 4th District Court of Appeal said Martin confessed after saying he wanted to talk to a lawyer but before he was able to obtain one. Besides the confession, prosecutors used medical evidence and testimony from the girl in Martin's trial. They would still be able to use the evidence and the girl's testimony if a new trial is sought, but that prospect devastated the girl's mother. "I don't know if she can go through this again," she said of her daughter, now 13. "She is still just a girl. We have gone past that stage in our life."

Man killed in shootout with officers

CITRA _ Undercover police officers staking out a supermarket after a string of robberies killed a man and wounded another in a gun battle. The name of the 23-year-old man killed had not been released late Thursday. The second gunman, Joe Louis Thomas, 32, was shot in the abdomen and was listed in stable condition at Alachua General Hospital in Gainesville Thursday afternoon. Police say the shooting occurred late Wednesday after the two men robbed the Citra Supermarket, about 15 miles southeast of Gainesville. Officers were watching the store because of a recent series of grocery store holdups in Reddick, McIntosh, Silver Springs Shores and Citra in which more than $40,000 was taken.

PSC adjusts utility rates

TALLAHASSEE _ Tampa Electric Co. (TECO) customers soon will notice increases in their monthly bills, while customers of Florida Power Corp. will see a small decrease. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday approved adjustments to the amounts the utilities charge their customers for the fuel used in making electricity. The bill for a typical TECO family using 1,000 kilowatt hours a month will go from $78.12 to $79.74, an increase of $1.62. The bill for a Florida Power Corp. family will go from $71.12 to $70.82, a decrease of 30 cents. The changes are effective for March through September.

- Compiled by DAVID CONYERS from wire reports

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