Advertisement
  1. News

Judge grants early probation release for Hulk Hogan's son

Published May 5, 2012

LARGO — Nicholas Bollea, son of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, was granted early release from the five-year probation sentence that resulted from a 2007 accident that severely injured his friend John Graziano.

Bollea did not attend the court hearing on Friday morning, but spoke by telephone to attorney Kevin Hayslett just afterward.

Hayslett said Bollea was "elated to be off probation," but that "John Graziano continues to be in his thoughts."

Bollea's attorney said his client had worked hard at performing 600 hours of community service and has stayed free of trouble, living his life "under the radar and out of TMZ's crosshairs."

Hayslett said he has known Bollea since before the accident, and can see that he has done a lot of maturing since then.

During the hearing, Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser objected to letting Bollea, 21, out of the probation sentence after having served roughly 80 percent of it.

But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico said defendants typically are released from probation after half of their sentence as long as they have completed all their requirements.

Federico said he is known as being one of the toughest judges on probation violators. But in this case, he said he could not see a reason to depart from the usual court system practice.

"If I don't grant it now, I would be treating him differently from everybody else," Federico said.

Asked for a reaction, George Tragos, the lawyer for John Graziano's mother, said, "As her attorney, I am stating that it is typical of the Bollea family to plan something like this around one of the worst tragedies of Debra Graziano's life, the death of her son Mike."

Debra's younger son, Michael Graziano, 23, died in a separate car crash last month. He was a passenger in a Volvo that crashed into the back of a dump truck at 3 a.m. April 3 at Ulmerton Road and 66th Street.

Five years earlier, Debra's older son, John, was riding in a car with Bollea when it jumped a curb and plowed into a palm tree. Graziano was not wearing a seat belt.

Bollea was seen racing against a Dodge Viper moments before the crash.

Graziano was left in a minimally conscious state. He spent two years receiving treatment at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa before he was released to his family in 2009.

Bollea pleaded no contest in 2008 to reckless driving with serious bodily injury, and judgment was withheld, meaning he would not be a felon if he successfully completed all of the terms of his sentence.

The sentence included eight months in the Pinellas County Jail plus five years of probation, 500 hours of community service and court costs. Federico also said Bollea's driver's license should be revoked for three years.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister [CHRIS URSO | Times]
    Yes, that’s an "R" next to his name on the ballot. But if you dig deeper, Sue Carlton asks, does the sheriff bleed blue? And a follow-up: Does it matter?
  2. The projected path of Tropical Storm Nestor. National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  3. 4 hours ago• Pinellas
    Fin is Pinellas County's Pet of the Week. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
    The 4-year-old mixed breed is available for adoption at Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
  4. A semi-trailer truck fell onto an SUV on Interstate 4 on Friday night after a reported tornado touched down and crossed the highway near Lakeland. No one was injured. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Powerful winds caused damage and power loss but no injuries in Pinellas County. In Polk County, I-4 drivers were fortunate no one was injured when a tornado crosses the interstate.
  5. The Florida Department of Transportation is installing lights on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as part of a $15 million project. During tests this weekend, engineers will illuminate the bridge in a pink hue to commemorate breast cancer awareness month. Courtesy of Florida Department of Transportation
    The Florida Department of Transportation is lighting up the span this weekend to commemorate breast cancer awareness month.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 63-year-old crossing guard was hospitalized, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  7. Amber Perera looks out at the courtroom audience during her sentencing hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Perera caused a fatal crash on the Selmon Expressway in Tampa in August, 10, 2017 that killed Rita and Luiz Felipak and their 8-year-old daughter Giorgia Felipak. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    Amber Perera is responsible for the 2017 crash that killed a family of three. She hopes to avoid a life sentence. The judge is still deciding.
  8. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement