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Bank shooting suspects jailed

Jim Kofskey had already bought his airline tickets.

He was going to retire from his job as an engineer in Alabama the first of next month and join his wife on the sunny west coast of Florida, where they could play tennis together. She was already making plans for his retirement party.

"That was the dream, anyway," Kofskey said Saturday, struggling to keep his composure. "That was the dream."

Margaret Stevens-Kofskey, 48, his wife since July 4, 1992, was shot to death Friday in a robbery of the Clearwater AmSouth bank branch she managed. Rather than planning his first retirement fishing trip, Kofskey was making funeral arrangements.

"Right now," Kofskey said, "I'm in a state of absolute, utter shock."

Police early Saturday charged Scott Daniel Bailey, 19, and Donald A. D'Angelo, 23, with murder and armed robbery. Police say Bailey fired the shot that killed Mrs. Stevens-Kofskey.

"These are the men," Clearwater Police Capt. Frank Palombo said at a 5 a.m. news conference.

Bailey, with close-cropped brown hair, and D'Angelo, wearing a Grateful Dead tie-dyed shirt, made no comment as they were led away from police headquarters just before 6 a.m.

They were held without bail Saturday in the Pinellas County Jail.

Bailey, armed with a revolver, and D'Angelo, who was unarmed, robbed the AmSouth branch at 3021 Enterprise Road at 2:39 p.m. Friday, police say. The two men ordered a half-dozen bank employees to lie on the floor and took an undisclosed amount of cash, police say. There were no customers in the bank at the time, Palombo said.

Mrs. Stevens-Kofskey was in an office, away from the area where the robbery was taking place. When she came out, police say she did not get down, despite the robbers' commands. Bailey shot her in the side of the head from about 3 feet away, Palombo said.

It probably was the first murder committed during a bank robbery in Clearwater history, Palombo said.

It's not clear why Mrs. Stevens-Kofskey did not get down when ordered, Palombo said. She probably froze, he said.

Jim Kofskey didn't believe that. His wife was a level-headed, quick-thinking person who was trained by the bank about procedures to follow during robberies, Kofskey said. AmSouth officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.

"It's likely she was doing exactly what (the robbers) told her to do," he said. "She's not the kind to freeze."

According to her husband, Mrs. Stevens-Kofskey was a trained pilot, although she had let her pilot's license expire recently, said Kofskey, 57. She earned a doctorate in performing arts and music from Boston University, and was an excellent classical flutist who taught music at the University of Mississippi until she switched careers in 1985, he said.

She enjoyed reading novels and playing tennis, and she loved her career in banking, which she started because she grew frustrated with students who were not as dedicated to music as she was, her husband said.

"Margaret was a truly remarkable person," Kofskey said. "She was beautiful, intelligent and she really worked hard. She was the American dream of the successful woman."

She started working for AmSouth in 1985. She worked for several years at an AmSouth branch in Birmingham, Ala., and the company offered her the job managing the Enterprise branch last year, her husband said. She moved to Clearwater in October and rented an apartment in the upscale Post Court complex at 101 N Old Coachman Road.

She lived there with two Siamese cats _ Esmy and Kospa _ while her husband remained in Alabama. He traveled to Clearwater to visit every couple of weeks, he said, and they had recently started to shop for a condominium along the Gulf.

On Friday, he was heading to Clearwater for the weekend, reading a magazine in the airport in Huntsville, Ala., when he got a call with the news.

Palombo said that after the robbery, the suspects ran to a waiting Volkswagen Beetle and drove north to Tarpon Springs. They ditched the gun in an apartment.

During that trip, they visited a friend and bought flowers for a girlfriend, Palombo said. They were apparently certain they wouldn't be caught, he said.

"They felt pretty comfortable," Palombo said, adding that a knock on their door caught the two, in shorts and T-shirts, off-guard. "I'd say surprised was an understatement."

Police tracked down the two men about 12:30 Saturday morning at an apartment they shared with four or five other people, Palombo said. On affidavits, both Bailey and D'Angelo list an address of 19135 U.S. 19 N, Apartment E-1.

As police interviewed D'Angelo early Saturday, Bailey ran out of the apartment, Palombo said. He was captured a few minutes later with the help of police dogs and a helicopter, Palombo said. Bailey later admitted that the fatal shot was fired from his gun, but said the gun went off accidentally, Palombo said.

Most of the stolen money was recovered Saturday from Bailey and D'Angelo, Palombo said.

Bailey also was wanted for failure to appear last month on a charge of felonious possession of a firearm, according to county records. He was sentenced last June to 18 months in state prison for burglary and armed trespassing. He served less than five months.

The investigation moved fast, involving Clearwater police, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies and the FBI. People near the bank helped identify suspects with assistance from photographs from a bank security camera, Palombo said. He said police eventually learned the two men's street names _ "D.J." for D'Angelo and "Scooter" for Bailey _ and tracked down a roommate working at a fast-food restaurant. The roommate, who did not know of the robbery, led authorities back to the apartment, Palombo said.

The bank is in a clean-scrubbed, suburban area of strip malls and pricey homes. The neighborhood is tight-knit, and it's certainly possible that people nearby would know of D'Angelo and Bailey, said Vaughn Morgan, 17, who works at a newsstand on the same block as the bank. In fact, Morgan and two friends said they were acquainted with D'Angelo and Bailey.

Others in the area had trouble believing such a crime could happen in their neighborhood.

"The shock effect around here has got to be something incredible," said Howard Sample, 64, a neighborhood resident who found Mrs. Stevens-Kofskey very friendly in his occasional encounters with her as a bank customer.

"It's such a laid-back community," Sample said outside the bank Saturday. "That's why I pay more money to live in this part of town."

Customers found the AmSouth branch closed, posted with a handwritten sign noting that all branches would closed for the day. A basket of daisies and a mixed bouquet sat outside the Enterprise branch.

At an apartment complex a few miles south where D'Angelo and Bailey lived, some neighbors were not terribly surprised that one among them would be charged with murder.

"It's not a brutal shock," said Nancy Billingslea, 47, who was moving out of the apartment complex Saturday. "It's not the greatest place to live."

The apartments are spacious and relatively inexpensive, Billingslea said, and many are rented by college students. Some of the young people raise a ruckus, she said, although she said she didn't know anything about the apartment where D'Angelo or Bailey lived.

Next-door neighbors refused to give their names or discuss the matter in any detail.

Police investigating the scene said the residents of apartment E-1 kept a 2-foot-long pet pig, two iguanas and a frog.

_ Times staff writer Stephen Nohlgren contributed to this story.

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