Will David Russell Stahl ever stand trial?
Three years have passed since the local attorney, now 61, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior. He was accused of hiring three young girls for sex in his Tampa law office and at his Odessa home.
Last July, as he was about to stand trial before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Jack Espinosa, Stahl's lawyers asked to be removed from the case on the grounds that their client refused to return their calls.
Stahl picked a new lawyer, Buddy Gissendanner.
Since Gissendanner is dating Espinosa's judicial assistant, however, the judge had to remove himself.
The case fell before Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta, and another six months passed before Stahl could be scheduled, this week, for trial.
Then defense attorney Gissendanner asked Judge Ficarrotta to remove himself from the case.
The reason: Ficarrotta signed a warrant for the arrest of Shawn Robert Martin, a former paralegal who pleaded guilty to sex charges and agreed to testify against Stahl.
So Ficarrotta removed himself, too, leaving the case facing still another indefinite delay. Moreover, Gissendanner has asked for a continuance, noting that Judge Greg Holder, who worked as an FBI informant while a judge, signed warrants linked to the Stahl investigation. Gissendanner said he needs time to determine whether Holder's FBI work involved the Stahl case.
"It's a very complex case," Gissendanner said of the delays. "There are a lot of witnesses. There was a six-month investigation. I've only been on the case six months. You'd think I would get at least that much time."
The longer the case lingers, the more Stahl has reason to hope for unexpected breaks. As his lawyer's motion for a delay states: "One of the victims and a key witness has disappeared."
TAMPA DNA LAB: William Deparvine's saliva didn't have to go very far to land him in jail.
FDLE spokesman Rick Morera thinks Tampa Bay residents might be interested to know it.
Deparvine, a suspected serial killer charged in the murders of Tierra Verde couple Richard and Karla Van Dusen, has been in the Orient Road Jail since mid January.
Police say he killed the couple Nov. 25 and left their bodies in a dirt driveway in Tampa.
Deparvine's arrest came after his saliva, left on a discarded ice cream spoon that a St. Petersburg detective plucked from a public trash can, was matched to blood found in the Van Dusens' abandoned Jeep.
The spoon was analyzed over a three-week period at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's little-known DNA lab near Raymond James Stadium.
The lab has 15 analysts who work DNA cases, and another 11 forensic technologists who are assistants.
Given the high-profile nature of some of the cases the lab handles, Morera gets a little irked when he sees news accounts that say "state" analysts matched the DNA evidence. It kind of makes it sound like the spoon was sent off to Tallahassee, Morera says, when it fact it's tested not far from where residents watch the Bucs play.
"We're right here," Morera said. "But I don't think people realize we're in their back yard."
Another sample from Deparvine is headed to the lab soon. Deparvine was indicted Wednesday, and a Hillsborough County judge has ordered Deparvine to provide another DNA sample that's more pristine than the sticky spoon.
RENOVATORS SAW SMOKE: Call them ambulance chasers, crossed with a touch of Bob Vila and a dash of Paige Davis.
Seems home renovators and contractors like to be among the first at the scene of devastating house fires. At least, that was the case last week, when a fire ravaged the Seminole Heights bungalow of Jeremy Kingry and his wife, Zennya.
The fire started at at about 5:30 a.m. Friday at 115 W Curtis St. and spread to the Kingry residence, 113 W Curtis St.
By 9 a.m. the couple had more than half a dozen business cards between them. The couple had yet to digest the sight of their blackened Jeep Wrangler, boat and 1999 Yamaha water scooter.
Yet the renovators wanted to talk.
At 9:15, another renovator came by with his card.
Zennya took the card, turned away and rolled her eyes.
Turning to a reporter, she offered, "Want a card? Pick a card, any card."
_ Got a tip? Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at svansicklersptimes.com or 226-3373. Christopher Goffard can be reached at goffardsptimes.com or 226-3337.