Around the state
Compiled from Times wires
Democratic legislator concedes loss in recount
GAINESVILLE -- Democratic state Rep. Perry McGriff conceded in his effort to defend his seat, giving victory to Republican Larry Cretul by 35 votes.
The wire-thin race is the last legislative race to be decided, and gives the GOP an 81-39 majority in the House.
Cretul, an Ocala homebuilder and former Marion County commissioner, is expected to be certified the winner by state elections officials Sunday, following two recounts. McGriff could have contested the election in court, but with Wednesday's concession gave up the fight.
The District 22 seat includes parts of Marion, Levy and Alachua counties. Legislative redistricting this year removed much of McGriff's Gainesville stronghold.
Police investigate alleged rape at UF fraternity
GAINESVILLE -- University of Florida police are investigating an allegation that a woman was raped at a fraternity house.
A 19-year-old UF student told police Monday she thought she may have been the victim of a sexual battery at Sigma Phi Epsilon, police said Wednesday.
"She stated that after drinking for several hours both on and off campus, she awoke in a disheveled state," police records stated.
There was more than one alleged attacker, reports show. The woman described them as acquaintances.
The fraternity's national organization has suspended the local chapter's charter pending an investigation, associate dean of students Tracy Jones said Wednesday.
$68-million plan to boost FSU chemistry education
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State University today will unveil a $68-million plan -- infused with millions in earnings from the cancer-fighting drug Taxol -- to bolster its chemistry department and propel the school's national science standing.
"We're looking at a very substantial leap forward," said FSU president Sandy D'Alemberte.
The project includes a $46-million chemistry building that will house a Center for Molecular Recognition, space for 165 researchers in synthetic organic chemistry and others focused on molecular recognition and a 150-seat seminar hall.
Another $22-million will be spent for an endowment to create four faculty chairs in synthetic organic and bio-organic chemistry and two Francis Eppes Professorships that offer salary supplements to entice faculty superstars.
A donation of $6-million two years ago from the MDS Research Foundation jump-started the project. The foundation's president is Robert Holton, the FSU chemistry professor whose chemical process that creates the drug Taxol has reaped millions for the university.
Tallahassee officer killed thwarting home invasion
TALLAHASSEE -- A recently released felon was charged Thursday in the death of a Tallahassee police sergeant who was investigating a home invasion robbery.
Coy J. Evans, 32, is accused of fatally shooting Sgt. Dale Green, a 13-year veteran of the Tallahassee Police Department. Green had responded to a robbery report at home in southwest Tallahassee shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Evans was held on charges of first-degree murder of a police officer, two counts of armed robbery, armed burglary, kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
He was released June 30 after serving six years of a seven-year prison sentence for burglary and robbery with a firearm.
Green, 47, a married father of three, was shot four times, including once in the head, and died at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, police Chief Walt McNeil said.
Evans was arrested after a crosstown car chase.
McNeil called Green "a professional officer in every sense of the word. I am personally devastated," he said.
Green is the second officer to be shot and killed in the department's 157-year history. Officer Ernest Ponce De Leon, 40, died in 1988 after being shot by an escaped convict from Maryland during a traffic stop.
Death row inmate loses appeal in Pinellas case
TALLAHASSEE -- A man condemned to death in a Pinellas County slaying lost his appeal Thursday in the Florida Supreme Court.
The justices ruled 6-0 against Anthony Washington, 46, condemned for the 1989 murder of 93-year-old Alice Berdat in her Pinellas Park home.
Washington, who raped, beat and strangled Berdat, lived 2 miles away in a Largo work release center, where he was serving time for burglary.
In 1992, his jury recommended life in prison but the trial judge took the unusual step of overriding that recommendation. And in 1995 the Florida Supreme Court took the rare step of upholding a death sentence imposed despite a jury recommendation for life.
Thursday's ruling stemmed from Washington's second appeal, which was rejected in the trial court.
Man pleads guilty to killing mother with Alzheimer's
BARTOW -- A Polk County man pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the suffocation death of his 81-year-old mother who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Police said Gary Hoyt Pearson, 60, wrapped his mother's arms in tape to keep her from struggling, then bound her eyes, nose and mouth with tape before suffocating her with a towel in his car Oct. 30.
He then drove to the Winter Haven Police Department and told a worker at the front desk he had killed his mother and her body was in his car.
Pearson told detectives he was driven "over the edge" by Ruthie Pearson's Alzheimer's disease and having to care for her full-time.
He was initially charged with first-degree murder, which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison and possibly the death penalty. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Austin Maslanik, said Pearson agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder to give the judge some discretion in sentencing, although he could still go to prison for life.
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From the Times state desk
From the state wire