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Man accused of killing horse with bow and arrow

A man faces five felony charges accusing him of killing an Arabian horse with a bow and arrow and wounding another horse and a dog with a shotgun last October.

Donald Ray Bussey Jr., 20, of High Springs, near Gainesville, was arrested Thursday in Alachua by agents of the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

Bussey is charged with one count of killing a registered breed, two counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of trespassing, said Terence McElroy, a spokesman for Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.

If convicted, Bussey faces as much as 10 years in prison.

Bussey was hunting deer with friends in Columbia County and became frustrated over his failure to kill one, investigators said.

As they drove back into Alachua County, Bussey told his friends he was going to shoot a live animal, McElroy said.

Witnesses told investigators Bussey first fired a shotgun from the window of a pickup and grazed a horse, then fired at a dog, injuring its legs.

Finally, investigators were told, Bussey climbed in the back of the truck and shot an Arabian gelding with a bow and arrow. That horse died within minutes. It was worth an estimated $10,000, McElroy said.

Reno campaign fundraiser takes her to Hollywood

How do you follow up a Saturday Night Live appearance showing off your dance party routine? If you're Janet Reno, you run for governor and sit down with Jay Leno.

The former U.S. attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate is heading to California to raise money, party with Elton John and chat with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show Tuesday night.

Reno will attend fundraisers in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and on Sunday plans to attend John's post-Oscars party, campaign spokeswoman Nicole Harburger said. She heads to California today, but briefly returns to Florida Saturday for a union gathering before returning to the West Coast.

Tiny organism may be cause of "black water'

NAPLES _ A naturally occurring organism may be behind the mysterious "black water" patch west of the Florida Keys, an area described by fishermen as devoid of marine life.

Water samples taken from the area show a buildup of diatoms, a microscopic organism that may flourish when heavy rains flush nutrients from the land into saltwater bodies like the Gulf of Mexico.

"That may be a contributing factor, but we're not ready to say yet we think it is causing the discoloration overall," said Beverly Roberts, a marine biologist with the Florida Marine Research Institute.

Scientists continue to seek clues to what caused the gulf water from Marathon Key to Naples to turn a murky greenish black, as well as why marine life has avoided the area but does not appear to be dying there.

Crews from state, federal and private organizations collected more water samples from the area Tuesday, and those are also being tested.

In "unofficial" samples pulled earlier by volunteers, the institute's equipment found medium to high levels of a diatom known as Dactyliosolen fragilissimum. The organism exists normally at low levels in the water, until it receives a flush of silicon from the soil.

Repo man takes injured man's wheelchair, walker

PANAMA CITY _ A medical equipment company repossessed an injured man's wheelchair and walker after his insurance company refused to pay for them, leaving him standing on one leg in his kitchen, his wife says.

When Gulf Coast Rehab Equipment's repo man showed up at his home Wednesday, Jesse Strickland, who has had to use a wheelchair since a car accident last month, was caring for his two 2-year-old and 8-month-old children by himself.

By taking the items, the company endangered the children, Teresa Strickland told the News Herald of Panama City. She said he couldn't take his youngest child out of a crib.

"If it wasn't so sad, it would almost be funny," she said. "People repo wheelchairs?"

"I've got plates and rods, pins and bolts in my legs," Jesse Strickland said. "After all that hopping around I was in a lot of pain."

Howard Crow, a spokesman with Gulf Coast Rehab Equipment, said he is unable to comment on patients or company policies.

A church and medical company gave Strickland a substitute wheelchair and walker.

_ Staff and wire reports

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