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  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
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  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
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  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
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    Around the State

    Compiled from Times wires
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 19, 2002


    Florida judo team subdues carjacker in California

    LOS ANGELES -- Florida judo team members beat and doused an alleged carjacker with gasoline then handed over the grimacing, moaning 20-year-old to police officers on Sunday.

    "The boys are punching him in the face and I wanted to go around for a choke, to choke him out, but I didn't want to risk getting punched in the head, so I started pounding him from the back," said Christina Baldacci, a Florida International University judo team member.

    Tyrone Jermaine Hogan of Los Angeles was holding his ribs and wincing in pain as TV news crews recorded his arrest.

    The Florida team members weren't Hogan's first alleged victims.

    At 1:30 p.m., Hogan allegedly carjacked a couple, punching the driver in the face, pulling him out of his car and driving away with the woman passenger, said police Sgt. Karlene Gibson.

    Hogan allegedly tried to steal the woman's purse. Failing, he shoved the woman out of the car. Witnesses followed him but lost sight of him.

    Hogan was arrested for investigation of felony carjacking, kidnapping and robbery, said Sgt. Allen Hamilton. He was held in lieu of $1.2-million bail.

    Trial begins for teen accused in slaying

    BRADENTON -- Lawyers will begin picking a jury today to hear the manslaughter case against a teenager accused of beating another youth to death in an afterschool fight last year.

    John Albert Acosta was charged as an adult even though he was 17 at the time. Prosecutors say he kicked, punched and choked 16-year-old James Brier during the Oct. 18 fight in a supermarket parking lot six blocks from Manatee High School.

    The fight broke out in an ongoing rivalry between Acosta and Brier that started after a hazing incident during a party, investigators say. It was witnessed by about two dozens students.

    Twenty of those students, some friends of Acosta, some of Brier, are listed as potential witnesses in the trial.

    Acosta could get 15 years in prison if convicted.

    His attorney, Brett McIntosh, has asked Circuit Judge Marc Gilner to move the trial to another city if they have trouble seating a jury because of pretrial publicity. Gilner said he would consider it based on how the process progresses.

    Prosecutors filed a series of last-minute motions Friday meant to stop McIntosh from presenting evidence that Brier used illegal drugs and had training in martial arts. Gilner did not immediately rule on them.

    Missing elderly couple with Alzheimer's found

    EDGEWATER -- A missing elderly man and his wife, both suffering from Alzheimer's disease, were found outside a convenience store almost 200 miles from home after nearly two days, police said.

    A teller at the convenience store in Glades County notified authorities after seeing Paul Parker, 85, and his 83-year-old wife, Naomi, sitting outside the store most of Friday, according to Edgewater police.

    The Parkers, who had been missing since Thursday morning, were unharmed when police found them shortly after midnight Saturday.

    The couple's condition causes them to experience confusion and memory loss. Naomi Parker could not give deputies her name, police said.

    Paul Parker had told his daughter-in-law he wanted to get out of the house and was taking his wife with him.

    Linda Parker, 46, said she asked her father-in-law to run up to the corner store to get some milk and the couple drove off.

    Judge told woman was battered by accused killer

    BARTOW -- The girlfriend of the man charged with fatally beating 2-year-old Alfredo Montes is a battered spouse who needs mental health treatment instead of jail, her attorney said.

    Amandy Lawrence, 22, is charged with accompanying her boyfriend, Richard Chouquer, to dump Alfredo's body near Interstate 275. Investigators say Chouquer lost his temper and beat the toddler to death July 1 after he soiled his pants while in the couple's care.

    Lawrence is charged with accessory after the fact in Alfredo's death.

    Her attorney, Robert Norgard, told Circuit Judge Charles Brown Friday that a mental health evaluation likely would show that she is a battered spouse. He would like her placed in a residential treatment program, but prosecutors said the decision cannot be made until an evaluation is complete.

    Norgard withdrew an initial motion to reduce her $100,000 bail because Lawrence has nowhere to stay that would be acceptable to the court.

    Meanwhile, Alfredo's relatives are awaiting the release of his body. There were some problems with the DNA tests that are needed to positively identify the body, said Merette Oweiss, the attorney who represents Jeanna Swallows, Alfredo's mother.

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