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Strangler suspect was kind to kids, elderly

Published Oct. 4, 2005

If what police say is true, by night Rory Conde was a monster who strangled prostitutes in his apartment. But by day, say children and other neighbors, he was kind to kids and elderly women.

"He was a real nice guy, like when your car was broken he would ask if he could help fix it. And he was real nice to his kids. You know, a neat father who would take time to play with his children. Not like some grownups," said 12-year-old Reina Valladares, who lives in the suburban Miami complex.

"He was a real gentleman," said 11-year-old Olga Dominguez. "He would help old ladies in with their groceries and do things for them. We were all really shocked to hear the news."

The news media had given the killer the name of the Tamiami Strangler because the bodies of six prostitutes, one a man dressed as a woman, were found along the Tamiami Trail in western Dade County.

Conde, wearing a jail-issued red jumpsuit, made a brief appearance Tuesday afternoon in Circuit Court. He was denied bail on the murder charges and sent back to his cell.

Police said Conde told them he killed prostitutes because he was angry that his wife left him about a year ago.

Appointment approved

TALLAHASSEE _ Nice try, Tom.

Republican Party Chairman Tom Slade appeared before the governor and Cabinet Tuesday to try to block the reappointment of Walter G. Campbell to the Florida Elections Commission. Campbell, Slade complained, has had a partisan approach to interpreting election law, favoring Democrats over Republicans.

The vote on the appointment: partisan. The Cabinet's four Democrats approved Campbell's appointment. The three Republicans voted no.

Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, couldn't help throwing in a sarcastic comment. "Testimony from you on election reform law bears a great weight with me," Chiles said to Slade, getting chuckles from fellow Democrats.

No deal on meal ads

TALLAHASSEE _ A $360,000 contract to promote school free school breakfast and lunch through university athletic programs was ditched Tuesday.

The governor and Cabinet refused to approve the program and agreed that education officials should try to send marketing money directly to school districts to urge children to eat nutritionally.

Questions have been about raised why the contract was not competitively bid and whether the appropriate audience would be reached by marketing school meals on college sports shows.

_ Compiled from wire reports.