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Muslim sites hit by vandalism, threat

By wire services
Published May 14, 2004

MIAMI - Muslim officials want the FBI to investigate three incidents this week at mosques.

Obscenities and a swastika were scrawled on the sign at the Islamic School of Miami, the Masjid Al-Ihsan mosque in Miami was trashed inside and out, and a threatening letter was left at the Darul Uloom mosque in Hollywood in Broward County, said Altaf Ali, Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The letter read, "Kill them all in the name of Allah."

"Whenever we see there's a major incident in the Middle East, there's a certain level of repercussions against Muslims in the United States," Ali said.

This week, a videotape posted on an al-Qaida-related Web site showed hooded, armed men decapitating a captive American businessman.

Jury suggests life for killer of parents

SARASOTA - A jury recommended a life prison sentence for a man convicted of robbing and killing his parents in their home two years ago.

Errol Watts, 34, was found guilty last week in the deaths of longtime educators Mary and Earl Watts as they returned from a weekend golf trip.

If Circuit Judge Andrew Owens follows the recommendation, Watts will be spared the death penalty but serve life in prison without possibility of parole.

At his trial, prosecutors said Watts got high on crack cocaine the morning of the murders, Aug. 25, 2002, and had been selling his parents' possessions throughout the weekend to buy drugs.

Mary and Earl Watts, both 64, were among the school district's first black administrators.

Three swimmers die in rough waters

MIAMI BEACH - Three swimmers thought to have been caught in rip currents died over two days off the South Florida coast.

The body of an unidentified man in his late 50s washed ashore in Miami Beach Thursday morning. The body of a man of about 60 washed ashore shortly after noon Thursday in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, police said. His identity had not been released. On Wednesday morning, the body of a swimmer in his mid 60s washed ashore on Miami Beach.

More than a dozen people caught in rip currents were rescued by lifeguards Thursday in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Officials urged people to stay out of the water during a period of rough seas. Easterly winds near 20 mph and wave swells of 4 to 6 feet are expected to continue through next week, said Tom Warner, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

For suicide photos, house arrest

FORT LAUDERDALE - A youth care worker who snapped pictures of a suicidal 15-year-old boy hanging by his neck at a shelter for troubled teens was sentenced to a year of house arrest Wednesday.

Sandra Trotter, 41, was convicted of child neglect in March for failing to do everything she could to save Anthony Dumas, who was still breathing as she snapped Polaroid photos of him hanging in his room from a noose fashioned from his belt.

Dumas went into a coma following the June 2000 incident at the Lippman Family Center and died four months later.

At trial, Trotter said she took the photos to show the position of the boy's body "for Lippman or whatever purpose they could be used for."

[Last modified May 14, 2004, 01:01:19]

Florida headlines

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  • Around the state
  • Muslim sites hit by vandalism, threat

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  • Iraq
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  • Legislature 2004
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