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Public defender claims Steele's rights violated

Following up on an announced challenge to statements Alfredie Steele Jr. made to investigators, the Public Defender's Office on Thursday filed court documents claiming detectives violated Steele's rights while questioning him.

Steele, 20, is charged with first-degree murder, accused of shooting to death Pasco County sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison, 57, early June 1 in Trilacoochee.

Public defender Tom Hanlon announced Tuesday he would challenge statements authorities say Steele made to them.

In Thursday's motion, Hanlon alleges that from the time Steele's mother brought him into Pasco County at the request of detectives, he was effectively in custody, and that when detectives questioned him _ while what Hanlon considers in custody _ they did not advise Steele that he had a right to remain silent and to an attorney.

A hearing is set for March 4.

Steele could face the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail in a Sumter County jail.

Ex-detention center deputy pleads guilty

DADE CITY _ A former Pasco County Detention Center deputy has agreed to probation and a mental health evaluation in exchange for his guilty plea to charges of sexual contact between a guard and an inmate.

Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper accepted the plea Wednesday from former deputy Lonnie Taylor Jr., 33, of Brooksville and ordered him to undergo an evaluation and accept treatment if recommended.

Taylor was a deputy in June when he was accused of performing oral sex on a female inmate at the jail in Land O'Lakes. Investigators said Taylor admitted engaging in the sex act with the woman but said it was consensual. He resigned from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office shortly after his arrest.