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News at noon: John Jonchuck trial getting complicated; what drove two St. Pete men to kill their girlfriends? and more

Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Apr. 2, 2019

Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on

John Jonchuck trial getting complicated

Jurors in the murder trial of John Jonchuck returned to court after a three-day weekend and heard more from Scot Machlus, a psychologist who believes Jonchuck was insane when he dropped his daughter, 5-year-old Phoebe, off a bridge. After Machlus, public defenders called their second of three expert witnesses. The defense team is arguing that Jonchuck did not know what he was doing was wrong when he killed Phoebe. Lawyers have said that the expert testimony will be the longest (and clearly most complicated) part of the proceedings.

What drove two St. Pete men to kill their girlfriends?

In the Tampa Bay area, more than one in five murder victims were killed in domestic violence incidents from 2013 to 2017, according to state data. Last year, five husbands killed their wives, then themselves, over a span of just eight days. The St. Petersburg murder-suicides that took place 36 days apart last summer saw two abusers take different paths toward the same fatal outcome. Justin Page had a documented history of terrorizing women. Jeremiah Mells did not. In both cases, friends and family say the signs were there all along.

A St. Petersburg man contested a $4,308 bill. Now, he could owe nearly $150,000

It began as a simple dispute over a modest amount. A Tampa contractor said a St. Petersburg company owed it $4,308. The case went to trial, the St. Petersburg company lost and last month it paid the $4,308. But the company's owner, I. Neil Irwin, wasn't prepared for what came next. Now he has to pay the contractor's legal bills — $95,509, according to invoices. And that is on top of the $51,565 Irwin owes his own lawyer, for a total of $147,074, or 27 times more than what he owed when the dispute began.

Florida prisons struggle to provide feminine products

It's something most women rarely chat about with strangers. But Valencia Gunder is walking the halls of the Capitol talking about menstruation. Specifically, Gunder's leading a discussion about the struggles incarcerated women in Florida face because they don't have adequate feminine products like tampons and sanitary napkins. Gunder, a former inmate who's now a lobbyist for the group Dignity Florida, is pushing a proposal that would require state prisons and county jails to make tampons and napkins more readily available to female prisoners.

UConn coach hopes 12th straight Women's Final Four is a wakeup call for spoiled fans

When UConn sends its basketball team off to Tampa for this week's Women's Final Four, Huskies coach Geno Auriemma expects the atmosphere to feel a little different. Getting to a 12th consecutive Final Four was a struggle, and the Huskies and their fans seem to recognize it. "I'm thrilled that there's this feeling of joy because these accomplishments are meant to be celebrated," Auriemma said Tuesday morning in a teleconference with reporters. "I do think our fan base has become spoiled. I do think they've lost sense of reality. Hopefully this year they realize this is really hard."

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