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Man freed in murder plot after 4 years

A doctor who sought to avenge his family's honor by having his son-in-law and two other people killed and mutilated has been freed from prison after serving less than four years. Gynecologist Saud Tarawneh, 50, initially was sentenced to a 25-year term that later was reduced to 22 years. He was released from prison Jan. 28 after the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach ruled he had been sentenced under the wrong state guidelines in the botched murder-for-hire scheme. The state appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which has not said whether it will consider the case. Tarawneh and his wife, Ghada Tarawneh, were convicted in June 1988 for asking Fort Lauderdale private investigator Ron Petrillo to arrange the murder of Mouataz Abdulsamad, now 31, who was both the cousin and husband of their daughter, Raniah, 22. When Abdulsamad married the Tarawnehs' daughter in 1986 against her parents' wishes, the newlyweds fled their homeland of Jordan. The Tarawnehs moved to Ohio and hired a private investigator, who tracked the couple to Tamarac. The Tarawnehs and Petrillo also discussed having the hit man kill Abdulsamad's sister and his mother _ Ghada Tarawneh's sister. Ghada Tarawneh, 42, was released from prison in September after serving three and a half years of a 17-year sentence.

Crack user convicted of sex with girl

WEST PALM BEACH _ A paraplegic crack user accused of terrorizing his girlfriend's family was convicted Thursday of forcing the woman's 13-year-old daughter to have sex with him 17 times. Deryl Brooks, 21, was found guilty on 14 counts of sexual activity with a child and of battery for punching one of his girlfriend's sons when he threatened to tell his mother of the abuse. Brooks, whom the children occasionally called "Dad," was acquitted on three other sex counts involving the girl and one count of aggravated assault with the other son. Prosecutors said Brooks introduced his girlfriend to crack, forced her daughter to have sex with him more than 50 times between January and August 1991, and coerced two of her sons, ages 10 and 11, into burglarizing homes.

Psychiatrist gets new trial for juror bias

MIAMI _ A psychiatrist who gained fame determining the mental states of criminal defendants and then pleaded insanity in his own criminal case will get a new trial because of a biased juror, an appeals court ruled. Michael Gilbert was sentenced to a year in jail, 18 months of house arrest and $5,000 in fines last April after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a police officer to concoct a cocaine scheme against one of Gilbert's enemies. The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday overturned the conviction on the grounds that a juror was biased against Gilbert, 76, of Miami Beach. In a trial that attracted national attention, his attorney, Joseph Paglino, argued Gilbert was insane when he offered a Metro-Dade police officer $2,000 to frame Miami lawyer Arthur Spiegel on a drug charge. Gilbert is perhaps best remembered for his testimony supporting the "television intoxication" defense used by Ronnie Zamora, a Miami teen-ager who said his addiction to TV caused him to kill an elderly woman.