A judge on Tuesday denied a motion by defense attorneys in the Walker Middle School rape case to force the alleged victim to return to the United States to be questioned. The boy is out of the country and will miss a previously scheduled deposition. Prosecutors said the boy would be back a week before school resumes in August. Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe told attorneys to meet him then. Tharpe set a Sept. 13 trial date. Prosecutors have said a 13-year-old student endured a two-month reign of terror in spring 2009 - that students heard his screams as he was raped with a broom and hockey stick in the school's locker room. Four boys were charged as adults with felony sexual battery. One suspect, Randall Moye, 15, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of felony battery with juvenile sanctions in exchange for testimony against his co-defendants. The others - Lee Louis Myers, 15, Raymond Price-Murray, 15, and Diemante J. Roberts, 16 - have not accepted plea deals.
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Soldier killed in Afghanistan
A soldier from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. The department said Spc. David W. Thomas, 40, was killed in Konar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. A second soldier, Staff Sgt. Eric B. Shaw, 31, of Exeter, Maine, also was killed in the attack. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
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Police say boy tried to stop drunk driver
A Largo woman was arrested late Monday night after police say she injured a 12-year-old boy who was trying to stop her from driving while drunk. Michelle M. Lubotina, 37, was driving with a child in tow on the 1200 block of Gulf Boulevard at about 11:45 p.m. According to an arrest report, Lubotina was heavily intoxicated, and the child, whose relationship to Lubotina is unknown, was trying to convince her to pull over. Lubotina did not listen to the child, and instead yelled and hit him on his face and arms, police said. She then bit him on his arm, leaving a visible injury, police said. The 12-year-old jumped out of the car and ran to a nearby security guard for help, police said. Lubotina was arrested at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. She was charged with child abuse and neglect of a child. On Tuesday, she was being held at Pinellas County Jail without bail.
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3-year-old drowns in apartment pool
Police are investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy who drowned Tuesday in an apartment complex pool. Authorities were called to the Autumn Chase Apartments, 2200 Gladys St., at about 5:10 p.m. The boy was found underwater and unresponsive in the pool's shallow end, officials said. He was pulled from the water by his stepfather. Authorities took the boy to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he was pronounced dead. The child's name was not released late Tuesday night.