Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Dan Sullivan, Times Staff

Dan Sullivan, Times Staff

I got into this business because I like telling stories. The best stories, I think, are ones that touch on themes of justice and injustice, compassion and forgiveness, choices and consequences. You can find a lot of that in the local court and criminal justice system, which I write about for the Times. I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, went to high school in Massachusetts, and came to Florida for college. I graduated from the University of Tampa in 2006. My wife, Meg, is a teacher. Outside work, I enjoy long walks, road trips, and reading public records. I’m a nerd.

The house where Ronnie Oneal is accused of killing two people and wounding his son is seen in this undated handout photo from the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. Photo courtesy of Hillsborough State Attorney's Office

From a hospital bed, boy recounted Riverview family slayings

Hillsborough prosecutors on Monday released hundreds of documents and photographs, along with audio and video recordings, in the murder case against Ronnie Oneal III.
Updated: 3 hours ago
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin spent 14 years locked up, including 10 years on death row, for a double murder that it is widely believed he did not commit. Last week, following years of legal wrangling, Seminole County prosecutors finally dropped their case against him. New evidence, including reports that the daughter of one of the victims repeatedly confessed to the crime, made it impossible for the case to go forward. Now exonerated, Aguirre-Jarquin has taken up residence in Tampa. He's staying at a home intended to be a place where exonerated people can live as they try to adjust to life after prison

In Tampa, man embarks on life after years on death row

Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin knows what it's like to be accused. He spent 10 years on death row before new evidence, including DNA tests, helped set him free. Now he must adjust to life on the outside.
Published: 11/16/18
Republican incumbent Dana Young and Democratic challenger Janet Cruz are seeking election in state Senate District 18.

Janet Cruz appears to win Florida Senate after manual recount wraps

The Tampa Democrat was up by a narrow, but comfortable margin that appears to be safe.
Published: 11/16/18
George Zachary Chronister, shown here at a court hearing in August, was sentenced to 22 monhts in prison for a stabbing incident that took place outside a club in 2017. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]

‘Zack’ Chronister, son of Hillsborough’s sheriff, gets prison time for knife attack

A circuit judge sentenced George Zachary Chronister to 22 months in prison for stabbing and slashing the face of another man during a 2017 fight.
Published: 11/14/18
Updated: 11/15/18
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, shown here at a news conference in January, announced Tuesday the creation of a special unit to review potential wrongful convictions. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

People wrongfully convicted can now petition Hillsborough state attorney for review

Andrew Warren announced the creation of a Conviction Integrity Unit, the first of its kind in Hillsborough.
Published: 11/13/18
Robin Fuson, left, and Jamey Moody are competing for  Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge, Group 25.

Tampa Bay Judicial Races: Fuson, Allen, Gutman win in Hillsborough, Ellis wins Pinellas-Pasco

Clear victors emerge in all four Tampa Bay judicial races
Published: 11/06/18
Stemming the flow of contraband is a challenge at state prisons such as the Wakulla Correctional Institution in Crawfordville. [Florida Department of Corrections]

Spice and cell phones: Floridaís prisons see new wave of contraband

It was after 1 a.m. when a drone swept through the high branches and glided past the razor wire. An officer spotted the machine as it descended into the prison yard and drifted behind a dorm where convicts slept.The tiny aircraft reversed...
Updated one month ago

Andrew Warren, Gillum supporter, scolds DeSantis for law and order claims

The Hillsborough state attorney was vague about which attacks from DeSantis he takes issue with, but DeSantis has repeatedly drawn attention to Tallahassee's crime rate under Mayor Gillum.
Updated one month ago
Ronnie Oneal

Riverview father deemed incompetent for trial in family slayings

TAMPA ó A man accused in the brutal slayings of his girlfriend and their daughter and the attempted murder of their young son has been deemed incompetent to stand trial.A judge on Thursday accepted findings from three doctors who assessed the...
Updated one month ago
Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn shot and killed Christobal Lopez as Lopez tried to leave the Vets Army Navy Surplus store on Oct. 3, police report. The hatchet Lopez was alleged to have shoplifted is seen next to his right arm. (Screengrab from video provided by the Lakeland Police Department)

Lakeland ex-commissioner must give up his guns, granted $150K bail on murder charge

Michael Dunn believes so much in the right to bear arms that he staged an anti-gun control rally in July at his Vets Army Navy Surplus store.Now the former Lakeland city commissioner canít go to work at his own store, which sells guns. And he...
Updated one month ago