Natalie Weber - Pinellas Criminal Justice Reporter

Pinellas Criminal Justice Reporter

As the Pinellas County criminal justice reporter, my goal is to inform readers about our local legal system and the major players shaping criminal justice on this side of Tampa Bay. When I’m not puzzling over the perfect lede for my story, you can find me experimenting with a new recipe or with my nose in a book. Have a tip or think there's something we should cover? Don't hesitate to reach out.

  1. A grand jury has indicted Robert Gullo, 25, on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 16-year-old Meaghan Cooper, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Monday.
  2. Cortiz Flowers, 23, was arrested after police said he raped a woman at gunpoint and committed a series of other violent crime around Pinellas County in recent weeks.
  3. Shelley Vaughn, 47, was sentenced to 364 days in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty and criminal mischief.
  4. The father of a 17-year-old accused in a fatal hit-and-run on Nov. 26 is facing a criminal charge in connection with the crash, according to St. Petersburg police.
  5. Michael Dougherty, 40, was arrested on an attempted second-degree murder charge after deputies said he left a woman with a hatchet in her head in St. Petersburg and fled to Gainesville.
  6. Alexander Leszczynski, 24, of North Redington Shores, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, as well as murder-for-hire and obstruction of justice.
  7. Chase Cannone faces vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter charges in connection with a fatal crash in February.
  8. Eloda Hogan, the 54-year-old mother of a teen driver accused in a crash that killed two teen passengers, is facing a criminal charge in connection with the fatal crash, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.
  9. Scott Herndon, 57, has been arrested on a charge that he left the scene of a fatal accident on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. He later returned to the scene after a witness followed him, police said.
  10. Broderick McCullough with his niece, Keony Dilworth. McCullough was found beaten in the parking lot of the North Shore pool the day after Thanksgiving in 1990. His murder remains unsolved.
  11. The St. Petersburg Police Department has arrested a teen girl in connection with a car crash that killed two teen passengers this summer, arrest records show.
  12. The St. Petersburg Police Department announced Friday that DNA evidence analyzed in 2022 showed Patricia Morris, right, killed Michael Scheumeister in August 1997. Scheumeister was found dead near the Mirror Lake Library on Aug. 14 of that year.
  13. Frontier Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Tampa International Airport on Monday, April 4, 2022 in Tampa. A Frontier flight from Cincinnati to Tampa was rerouted after a man was found with a box cutter on the flight.
  14. Martellish Hale, 43, was arrested Thursday in connection with the burning of a body in a St. Pete alley in August.
  15. Frontier Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Tampa International Airport earlier this year. A Frontier flight to Tampa was diverted Friday night after a passenger was found with a box cutter, according to the airline.
  16. A man died in Hernando County when deputies tried to serve a warrant, authorities said. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.
  17. Deputies are seeking the driver of the circled silver SUV above, captured in surveillance footage.
  18. A man who shot and killed another man during a parking dispute in downtown St. Petersburg was acquitted of a murder charge Wednesday after his attorney argued he was acting in self defense.
  19. Theresa "Momma Tee" Lassiter jokes around with then-St. Petersburg city council member Bill Foster, while visiting him at his law office in 2007. Lassiter was visiting to get some fliers copied for the 2007 Lawfest Workshop (CARRIE PRATT | TIMES Archive)
  20. An updated spaghetti model showing the potential paths of Hurricane Nicole.
  21. Bruce Bartlett won the race for Pinellas-Pasco state attorney on Tuesday night.
  22. Jordan Patrick Leahy was sentenced to two years in federal prison after he was found guilty of a federal hate crime in an attack on a Black family in Largo last year.
  23. Lt. Robert Turner, a St. Petersburg Police officer arrested on a domestic battery charge in August, has been suspended without pay for 200 hours and must undergo counseling through an employee assistance program, the agency announced Thursday.

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