Three people accused of killing a man in a 2010 robbery will be tried separately. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley on Monday set trial for Laron Raiford, 22, for April 2; for Lamont Newton, 24, for April 23; and for Jennifer Mee, 21, for May 22. Mee gained national fame in 2007 for an unceasing bout of hiccups. The trials were separated because each blames the others in the killing.
* * *
Man sentenced for role in drug ring
Gyasi Cline-Heard, a former overseas basketball player and the son of NBA player and coach Garfield Heard, was sentenced Monday to more than 16 years in federal prison. Cline-Heard, 33, pleaded guilty to running a cocaine and gun ring in Pinellas and Pasco counties from 2010 until his arrest in February, when he was picked up during a raid at a house in Tarpon Springs. Cline-Heard's tattoo shop in Palm Harbor, Legacy Tattoo, was also raided, along with his house in Trinity. Four dozen guns were found during the raids. The size of the stockpile of weapons - most of them assault rifles and machine guns with rounds that could penetrate officers' protective vests and cruisers - shocked authorities. Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the guns seized were "to kill people and to keep their drug operation going." Cline-Heard, 6-feet-8-inches tall, was a co-captain on the Penn State team that made the Sweet 16 in the 2001 NCAA Division 1 college basketball tournament. After graduation, he played professionally in Belgium and Korea until 2010.
* * *
Scott: Investigate Citizens firings
Gov. Rick Scott asked Inspector General Melinda Miguel on Monday to investigate the recent firings of four Citizens Property Insurance Corp. employees responsible for keeping an eye on any internal wrongdoing at the state-backed insurer. In a three-paragraph letter, Scott told Miguel that he was troubled by a Citizens' Audit Committee report released Friday. Scott noted the employees were terminated at a time they were investigating charges the insurer had mismanaged internal investigations and corporate funds.
* * *
'Lens' backer throwing a party
Anthony Sullivan, the OxiClean pitchman who has taken on the cause of promoting the Lens, the beleaguered replacement for the city's 1973 Pier, has decided to do so in a big way. Sullivan will hold a free "Rock the Lens" concert at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, at 6 p.m. Dec. 2. What he is calling "a night of entertainment and education to promote and celebrate" the Lens, will be headlined by Arrested Development, known for such songs as "Mr. Wendal," "People Everyday" and "Tennessee." The event is being promoted by Sullivan's pro-Lens group, Wowstpete, and Jannus Live. Tickets are limited to four per person. Go to jannuslive.com.